Ah…a fresh, new year. Slowing down a little from the maddening pace of the holidays. Time to forge ahead with the posts on entertaining…let’s get cooking!
I am supposedly famous for my salad. I find this very humorous, since it’s so very easy to throw together, and I really think the credit goes more to Paul Newman than to myself <grin>. However, when I bring a salad to a function and casually slip it onto the table unnoticed, I will almost always be approached later on and asked “Is that your salad??… I thought so!”
Now you too can make a “famous” salad!! Grab a cutting board, a lettuce spinner, and a good sharp knife for chopping.
First, the ingredients:
One package (qty. 3) romaine hearts, I prefer organic because there is less likelihood of the lettuce having a bitter taste.
One small package grape tomatoes, rinsed (the ones that look like football-shaped cherry tomatoes)
Crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Pecans (whole, pieces, candied, whatever you like!)
Sweetened dried cranberries
Chopped green onion (sometimes I leave this off if I know my company doesn’t care for onions)
Newman’s Own Original Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing
I take each romaine heart and cut a couple inches off from the top, where the leaves are a bit wilted and sometimes dirty. Discard. Then I chop all of the lettuce up, not too coarse and not too fine…roughly little 1″ squares. Place lettuce in a salad spinner, wash and spin dry.
Place washed, dry lettuce in a large serving bowl, preferably one that is wide and shallow. You could also use a platter with deep sides. Place desired number of tomatoes on top, spreading out evenly. Then sprinkle on cheese, pecans, cranberries, and green onion. The color combination is absolutely lovely, and the flavors are delicious!
If I am serving this at home, I carefully drizzle the salad with dressing, being careful not to use too much. I have never had a single complaint about the taste of the dressing, and I really do think it’s the Newman’s Own that makes this salad so tasty. If I am bringing the salad to an event or delivering a meal, I bring a small size bottle with me and leave it by the bowl.
Variations that I have used:
Substitute baby spinach for romaine, blue cheese for gorgonzola, and fresh sliced strawberries for the cranberries.
Substitute organic spring mix for the romaine, crumbled goat cheese for the gorgonzola, and sliced fresh pear for the cranberries (slice pear right before serving, it tends to brown easily!)
and a personal favorite…
Make croutons in your toaster oven out of cornbread. Just cut up cubes of sweet cornbread, line tray with foil sprayed with cooking spray, place bread on tray, coat lightly with cooking spray, and toast until edges are golden brown.
Use salad recipe as a base but replace gorgonzola with some shredded cheddar that you shred yourself off of a good quality block of cheese, like Cabot. Add crumbled bacon, cranberries are optional here (but I leave them on!) and top with the cornbread croutons. This pairs especially well with a meal of barbequed chicken and baked sweet potatoes.
Happy chopping! My next post will be all about bread to serve with that beautiful salad!