You may be familiar with the trifle, an English dessert that typically features layers of sherry-soaked cake, custard, fresh fruit, and whipped cream, all beautifully presented in a clear bowl. And while trifles are surely beloved for their taste, it's really their presentation that makes them a fan favorite. The eye can't help but be drawn to the aesthetically pleasing stacks of color and texture, making the dish a scene-stealer on any table. Of course, a dessert need not be an authentic trifle in order to be assembled like one (consider this decadent chocolate version); in fact, it doesn't need to be a dessert at all.
Why wait until the last course to wow guests at your next potluck or dinner party when you can kick off the meal with a stunning layered salad? Since they're made of a variety of colorful components, salads are particularly suited for trifle-style stacking. Take, for example, this seven-layered twist on a traditional Greek salad, courtesy of Tasting Table recipe developer Joe Dillard. The dish spotlights all the best flavors of the Mediterranean, including fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese. But to create a "visually stunning presentation," as Dillard puts it, the secret is in the servingware. "Trifle dishes are often associated with desserts, but they can be used to display beautiful large salads as well," he says. If you don't have an actual trifle bowl on hand, don't fret -- just about any see-through glass or plastic serving container will work.
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Some Tips For Perfectly Layering A Salad
Tasting Table's Greek salad starts with a base layer of romaine lettuce, followed by chickpeas, cucumbers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and red onions. To top it off? A sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese. However, you can turn just about any sort of salad into a lovely layered creation. A good rule of thumb is to line the bottom of your bowl with any leafy greens, then start stacking the densest ingredients first. The sturdier components, whether they be meat, grains, or legumes, will maintain their structure better as more ingredients are piled on top. Work your way up so that the most delicate and/or lighter toppings sit closer to the surface (Think: shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, or crispy croutons).
"Be sure to layer each ingredient as evenly as possible," Dillard advises. He adds that you should also "pay close attention to the sides of the bowl" as you go, in order to ensure that each layer is clearly separated and distinguishable around the bowl's edges. After all, the key to any striking trifle is showing off its layers from the outside. In that case, you'll also want to take the colors of your components into consideration while you assemble. The vibrant contrast of color and texture is the key to making your layered salad pop. So the next time you want to make an appealing appetizer for a crowd, try transforming your basic cobb or Caesar salad into a delectably layered centerpiece that could rival any dessert.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.