Sensational Summer Salads

Hailing from positions at award-winning restaurants such as Pier Nine, Montrachet and Chez L’Etoile, chef Frederic Booms has learned a thing or two about how to make a great salad. Now as the head chef of waterfront venue Helm Bistro & Bar in the buzzing Darling Harbour dining precinct, Chef Booms has packed his menu full of tasty, value for money salads, perfect for the warmer months. Here, he shares his tips on making the perfect summer salad, as well as several of his favourite recipes from the Helm Bistro & Bar menu. 

Tips from Chef Booms on how to make the perfect salad:
  1. The ingredients are the most important part of the salad. It may sound obvious, but the ingredients must be fresh! Greens should be crisp and vibrant in colour, vegetables must not be browning or have soft spots, and all fresh produce should look and smell fresh. If you skimp on quality ingredients, it will undoubtedly affect the finished product. 
  2. We are so lucky in Australia to have a plethora of fresh ingredients at our doorstep so make the most of it! Go to the markets and buy fresh, organic produce, support your local growers – you can really taste the difference in the finished product.
  3. Because salads seem so simple, people often don’t pay enough attention to the preparation. I always say people can really taste when there has been love in the making of food, so spend some time cleaning, chopping and preparing the ingredients well. Otherwise, the salad will look scruffy.
  4. Another important thing to think about is balance – make sure you have a balance of colours, textures and tastes. This is especially important when it comes to the salad leaves. For example, frisee and radicchio blends look colourful but can be quite tough, so make sure to balance that with some iceberg lettuce that is considerably more succulent.
  5. Simple additions can take a salad to the next level – a handful of crusty croutons, a sprinkling of tasted nuts, special dressing, or an attractive garnish. At Helm Bistro & Bar, I always try to think of a special touch that will make the salad memorable and take its flavour profile to the next level!
  6. Lastly – don’t dress the salad until just before it is served. The oil in the dressing makes leaves wilt and change colour very quickly.
Helm Bistro & Bar Caesar Salad
(Serves 1)

  • 1 x clove garlic
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 3 tbs of mayonnaise
  • 4 x anchovies
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined.

  • 1 x baby cos lettuce leaves separated
  • 3 x pieces of crispy bacon
  • 5 x butter croutons
  • 1 x soft boiled egg
  • Shaved fresh parmesan to serve

Rip off small chunks of bread and sauté in butter. Bake in the oven until crisp on 180 degree for approx 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Boil one egg in a sauce pan over medium heat for approx 6 minutes. Remove from water and refresh in ice water to stop it from cooking any further.

Mix lettuce, croutons and dressing in a bowl till all leaves are well coated. Place on a plate. Top with bacon, egg and parmesan. 

By Chef Frederic Booms