Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two Yummy Salad Recipes From My Mom

This is the way my mom has been making Caesar Salad since the early 1970s. Except she quickly stopped cracking a raw egg over the top when she learned about salmonella! (Eww, I can't believe we really ate it that way, but that's included in the "authentic" recipe!) To me, this lighter dressing is so much more delicious than the thick, sloppy, bottled Ceasr dressing that is so popular. Try it and see what you think!

Jan's Caesar Salad

1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and TORN (not chopped)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil (extra light tasting)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh is best as opposed to the stuff in the green can)
1 lemon, juiced
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
freshly-ground pepper

In measuring cup, stir the garlic into the olive oil and let sit. (This helps the oil absorb the good garlic flavor) Prepare the lettuce, making sure that leaves are well-dried and then torn into bite-sized pieces using the whole leaf (even the crunchy spine). Pour olive oil / garlic over lettuce and toss to coat. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over and toss. Add juice of fresh lemon, and Worcestershire sauce (this is the "secret ingredient" as it contains anchovy paste, which gives the true Caesar flavor), and toss lightly. Finish with a few grinds of pepper, another squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and serve. Serves four.

This is delicious alone, or as a base for sliced grilled chicken or steak, or shrimp/prawns. Also, a few freshly-sauteed croutons make it extra yummy.

Jan's Cobb Salad

This is another recipe that we are passionate about in our family. I believe the original Cobb Salad originated in Los Angeles, where I grew up, at the famous Brown Derby restaurant. It is the perfect combination of flavors, and is hearty enough to serve as a main dish. The secret to a great Cobb Salad is to small-dice all of the ingredients, and to finish with a light vinaigrette-type dressing. Once again, so much better than a goopy Ranch or Bleu Cheese dressing, IMO!

1/2 head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and small-diced
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, washed, dried, and small-diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and small-diced
1 large, just-ripe Haas avocado, small-diced
1/3 cup sliced green onions, from green top down to white bottom
6 slices thick bacon, crisply-fried and crumbled
1/2 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
2 grilled chicken breasts, skinless and small-diced
2 hard-boiled eggs, small-diced (I'm not an egg fan, so I leave this out)

Combine all ingredients in large salad bowl. Toss with your favorite vinaigrette (I have been using Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette from Costco lately) or make your own from scratch. Finish with freshly-ground pepper, of course! This will serve four as a main course, or eight on smaller salad plates.

Oh! If you are going to take this salad to a lunch with the girls, lay each ingredient seperately on top of the greens, in strips from the center to the sides of the bowl. It looks so beautiful this way! Toss at the table right before serving.

NOTE: I have been making this salad for myself a couple of times a week since I started eating more healthily. I just use smaller portions for one serving. Also, I've substituted Kirkland (Costco) brand crumbled bacon (just a sprinkle) for the freshly-fried thick stuff, used just a sprinkle of bleu cheese, and two or three slices of chicken breast. The Vidalia Onion vinaigrette is a "light" dressing (8g fat per serving, compared to 14g per usual, full-fat dressings) and is so delicious.

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