While some wedding couples are planning ‘green weddings,’ a great many of our New Jersey wedding couples are focusing on their wedding menu’s green salads. In one of the freshest wedding catering trends, a new focus lands on the salad course, with couples requesting gourmet mixes of greens, vegetables, nuts and cheeses. The salad course is no longer an afterthought as couples design their menus. Brides and grooms who come to the The Manor are just as interested in creating unique salad courses as they are in designing their cocktail party menus, their sit-down dinners and their dessert hour menus.
The salad course has long been designated as a refreshing ‘palate-cleanser,’ giving guests a delightful plate of fresh, organic salad greens, crisp raw vegetables and vinaigrette after they’ve enjoyed heavier, perhaps creamy or cheese-based appetizers at the cocktail hour. In past years, at many wedding venues, salads were comprised of simple, basic iceberg or Romaine lettuce with a slice of tomato and several cucumber rounds, topped with vinegar and oil, or a classic Caesar salad. Now, the gourmet trend in wedding catering is to choose more adventurous, more unique salad elements, creating layers of more sophisticated flavors.
In short, the salad course has emerged as a new spotlight feature of the wedding menu. Wedding dining will never be the same again.
Here are some of the top trends in creating an ‘inspired salad course’ to create a more elegant dining experience:
- Add color to your greens. A plate of freshly-picked mesclun greens creates a foundation of light and dark green colors on which your topping elements rest. A tri-color salad of arugula, endive and radicchio blends pale and dark greens with the bright reds of the radicchio for a colorful presentation and both sweet and bitter greens blending in a dish with flavor depth.
- Add sweetness to your salads. Here at the The Manor in West Orange, one of our most-requested salads is an arugula salad with red onion, mandarin orange and sliced almonds, with the sweetness of the orange adding a burst of flavor in each bite. Sweetness may also come through the dressing, such as a berry vinaigrette, or cubed mango, apple and other sweet fruit toppings.
- Add crunch to your salads. The top trends in crunchy gourmet salads include croutons, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts, among other nuts.
- Add unique vegetables to your salads. New Jersey tomatoes are often a Must in a fine garden salad, but the new trends in crunchy garden salad bites include beets, cauliflower, asparagus, and snap peas. Mushrooms have burst upon the salad scene as another top trend in toppings.
- Add seafood to your salads. A tiny cluster of fresh lobster meat or crab placed on top of a salad is a new secret ingredient to elevate the salad into a gourmet course.
- Add cheeses to your salads. Guests appreciate the attention to detail when a server offers to shave fresh Romano cheese over their salads, and slices of fresh mozzarella, parmesan or crumbles of feta or goat cheese add the perfect topping and taste to a salad.
- Get creative with vinaigrettes. Our salad dressings include red wine vinaigrettes, raspberry vinaigrettes, and balsamic vinaigrettes. The trend in salad courses is to lighten up the dressing calorically, skipping heavier, creamy dressings in favor of lighter, fresher, fruity vinaigrettes.