innovative recipes from the F&W test kitchen

"Salads afford considerable scope for the exercise of individual taste," opined Mrs. Beeton, Victorian England's gift to the world of fine cooking. And she was right, of course. There are few rules for the creation of a salad except that the greens be fresh and crisp.

These sophisticated main-course salads range from simple ingredients simply dressed and tossed--Napa cabbage, apple, ham, walnuts and currants, for example--to an artfully arranged, or composed, plate of grilled tuna, enoki mushrooms and alfalfa sprouts.

But for all their differences, there is one quality these recipes share, and that is inventiveness. Smoked trout and horseradish dressing put a Russian spin on a salade niçoise; assertive parsley and roasted poblano chiles stand up to rich beef tenderloin; delicate lo mein noodles set off lobster. Not quite what Mrs. Beeton would have served herself, but as an admirer of new ideas, she would approve, we're certain.