Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Salad Days


Need I re-iterate? If you want a good chef’s salad, you must buy good ingredients. Two-bit substitutions will produce two-bit results. So take time to find a good deli with superior cold-cuts and select carefully. Here is the shopping list for this summer-time favorite (generously serves six):
- 1/4 pound deli-thin sliced Genoa salami (NOT prepackaged)
- 1/4 pound deli-thin sliced Swiss cheese (the nuttier the better)
- 1/4 pound deli-thin sliced Italian roast beef (w/ that hint of garlic)
- 1/4 pound deli-thin sliced baked ham (the real deal)
- 1/4 pound deli-thin sliced roast turkey (not that plastic-looking imitation)
- One large cucumber
- Two ripe tomatoes
- One bunch scallions
- Two packages Summer Salad mix or make your own with torn-to-bite-size frisee, Bibb lettuce, arugula, radicchio, etc, (no baby spinach).
- Your favorite salad dressings (I prefer home-made Thousand Island made with equal parts mayo, ketchup and relish), but Italian or Ranch or Parmesan/peppercorn will do.

Then:
- Wash and spin-dry the salad greens (even if prepackaged).
- Peel the tomatoes (take the time, it is important) and cut into bit-sized pieces.
- Peel, seed and cut the cucumber into bite-sized pieces.
- Clean three or four scallions and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Cross-cut the cold-cuts and Swiss cheese into 1/8 inch slivers.

Next:
- Place the salad greens in a large salad bowl.
- Arrange the tomatoes, cucumber, cold cuts, and Swiss cheese in pie shaped segments on top of the greens (taking time to contrast the colors).
- Place the chopped scallions in the center.

Present the salad in all its glory to your guests and then toss it vigorously until it is well mixed. Serve to your salivating guest and let them pick their own dressing. If you choose Thousand Island dressing, top with some fresh cracked or ground black pepper.

Serve with a good white wine and crusty bread. Enjoy!

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