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I love lettuce salad. I eat it very often. I bought a spin dryer, which I find very handy and I use it all the time.

But recently I heard Gordon Ramsay saying that you should never use a spin dryer, that it will destroy the lettuce.

Is that true? How is it destroying the lettuce. I don't see any difference between spin-dryed and un-spun lettuce.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 33 down vote accepted

I think the thing boils down to how much you need to get from the lettuce. If you demand the best of the best performance for your salad, you want to blot it dry with paper towels, so that the texture is best preserved and the appearance is undisturbed. For my purpose, in my kitchen, a salad spinner saves money (the paper towels), time (my time), and allows me to do something more interesting than blotting it dry, and the time saved can be used to better decorate the dishes I love better than the salad.

In essence, there is nothing wrong with any method of cooking if you enjoy the result, and it doesn't involve health problems. Spinning it dry is fine for me, and if you accept the result, there is little to hesitate using one.

Thomas Keller also told us that after vegetables release the flavors in the soup we should discard them, and replace them with fresh cooked vegetables with better colors and better flavor for better presentation. In my kitchen, I am not serving a Michelin 3-star soup to my family, and thus it is fine having those vegetables in the soup for some more fibres in our diet.

It is a matter of fine dining, it is not a matter of home kitchen. Insist if you have to, but relax if you actually can.

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Great great answer. –  Mike Sherov Jul 10 '10 at 16:30

It may refer to the use of lettuce in salads with lots of sauce or with very dense sauce, because it probably loses resistence (it'll break more easily.) This is just a guess though.

Still, if you use it and like the results you get why stop using it because Gordon Ramsay says so?

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A reason, I don't do it is that I usually store the leaves in the fridge and eat them over a period of a week and more. For that, I don't want them to be damaged mechanically, as even very small fractures rot a lot easier (as I also wrote in this post of mine).

Since I'm way too lazy to blot it dry with paper towels, I just (very) carefully shake the water off after rinsing and then leave them in a sifter for an hour, arranging them in a steep angle with the leaf stalk pointing downwards so the water can drip off.

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You could also wash, shake, angle (as above) and then roll the leaves up in a clean floursack (dishtowel used for drying delicate glassware), which preserves the leaves beautifully. I generally remove the towel after a day or two and the leaves can last for a good few days longer.

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