Salad with tongs

Photo: Paul Viant/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

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Mistake #4: Using Tongs
The quickest way to undo everything Zapata has taught us so far: simply pour the vinaigrette on top (you'll wind up drenching some leaves and leaving others naked) and toss everything together with metal or plastic tongs (you'll crush the leaves). Zapata's method is untraditional, but he swears it's the best way to evenly distribute the liquid and avoid damaging the greens. He tilts the bowl holding the greens so it's at an angle, and uses his other hand to pour the dressing onto the inside edge of the bowl, turning as he goes. Then, he uses clean hands to gently mix the dressing into the greens, and uses wooden utensils for serving.