For some people, salads are just go-to options at lunch or dinner when it's crunch time — quick, healthy options when nothing else comes to mind at the moment. For others, they're just speed bumps on the way to something greater — a perfect roast chicken, a juicy grilled steak, or a mouthwatering rack of ribs — palate-cleansers, appetizers, but nothing memorable. Just some greens with some kind of vinaigrette and maybe a few other vegetables thrown in for good measure.
But salad can be so much more than just an afterthought. With a little love, you can make some truly exciting salads, and where better to start than with the culinary greats — iconic American salad recipes.
For example, have you ever had a crab Louis? Martha Stewart's take is (as one would expect) absolutely impeccable. Although the origins of the dish are disputed (again, as one would expect), with several chefs named Louis up and down the West Coast all claiming to have invented the salad first, it's hard to argue with the fact that fresh crab, iceberg lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, crisp celery, and ripe tomatoes tossed with a creamy dressing makes for a salad worth remembering.
To see what else made the list, including the updated version of a Waldorf salad from the Waldorf Astoria itself and a Cobb salad from the Brown Derby restaurants in Los Angeles (where it was originally invented), check out the slideshow.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.