A meal just isn't a meal without a crisp, and I do mean crisp, salad.
The basics begin with dry lettuce and greens in the proper ratio of crunch to color. (Please note the distinction that greens are loose and lettuce has a stem.)
The accompaniments should be few and not too heavy.
The bowl, wooden, as plastic and metal don't enhance they detract.
All of the above should be kept in the refrigerator to keep it cold (duh).
It's easy to sabotage a salad with the last step. The dressing should be applied sparingly and tossed at the last minute to avoid soaked-syndrome.
To wit, here's my little secret:
I halve toybox tomatoes and marinate them in olive oil, sea salt, paprika and pepper. Just before we sit down, I remove the aforementioned wooden bowl form the fridge, set the bowl of tomatoes in it, along with half a lemon.
The whole lot goes on the table until it is time to enjoy the salad. Then, and only then, do I add the tomato mixture to the greens and lettuces and toss it all together with a generous squeeze of lemon.
Easy, breezy and meets criteria.
Best of all, when the salad is done right, no one has to be fired at the end of the night.