Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hodgepodge 196/365 - Salads

The other night we got together with an old friend, Brian, and his new fiancée, Melissa, at an Italian restaurant in L.A., C&O Cucina (standing for Cheese & Olives, or so Brian said: the attached bar, Rat Pack Lounge, specializing in martinis, might account for the olives as well). Among various dishes (a super yummy calamari piccata for me, stuffed shrimp for David), Brian and Melissa ordered a chopped Italian salad, which they proceeded to swoon over: the pieces were just the right size, the marriage of flavors perfect. And although we all agreed that making a salad really isn't difficult, we also agreed that we never make them! Too much fuss!

As Brian—who's a great cook—expounded on the tedium of salad-making, I started thinking: it's true that I do not make salads, because yeah, they are kind of fussy. But for me, it's also because, if I do cook at all, I really enjoy following recipes—the more complicated the better. And what's not fussy about that? So . . .  what if I found some recipes for a salad? Maybe then I might start making them.

This evening I tested my hypothesis by googling—yes, why not start with the thing that kicked this whole discussion off—chopped Italian salad. I found one; it had five-star ratings. I made a shopping list, bought some provisions. And then I set about chopping, accompanied by the podcast The S-Town. (Weird little story. Or rather, weird central character, the horologist John B. McLemoore, the resident of "Shit-Town," a rural place in Alabama, who lured the journalist Brian Reed in with a tale of a murder.)

I enjoy listening to podcasts while I cook. Or, in this case, assemble: no cooking required.

Here's the recipe I followed. It's nothing exceptional, but the result was very tasty. I might be looking for more salad recipes in the future. It seems a little strange to follow a recipe for a salad, of all things (most people just throw them together), but heck, if it gets me preparing and eating them, I'm all for it.

Super Italian Chopped Salad

3 cups torn romaine (oops, I chopped)
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (6.5 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 medium green bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced olives (I used whole pitted from the deli)
5 slices deli ham, chopped
5 slices hard salami, chopped
5 slices peperoni, chopped
3 slices provolone cheese, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tb red wine vinegar (I didn't have any, so used Balsamic)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tb grated Parmesan cheese
peperoncini, optional (I opted out, because I forgot)

In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper; pour over the salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese, and top with peperoncini if desired. Serves 10.

I didn't notice the yield before; could've cut the recipe in half if I had. I guess we'll be having chopped Italian salad for a while . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment