24-Hour Picnic Salad
In this barbecue favorite, salt does more than just flavor this salad-it pulls moisture out of the lettuce, which thins the dressing to the perfect consistency.
Why This Recipe Works
We liked the idea of a salad recipe that could be assembled in advance, where all the ingredients are layered and covered with a thick dressing, put in the fridge for a night and simply tossed and served the next day. But early recipe attempts produced overdressed salads with soggy vegetables—until we found a formula that worked. We tried other lettuces, but iceberg retained the most crunch after sitting with the dressing for a day. Salting the layers of lettuce pulled moisture out—we used the water to thin our dressing to the prefect consistency. Crunchy vegetables like celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers stayed crisp in the salad overnight, but soft ingredients like mushrooms and spinach wilted into mush.