Saturday, December 6, 2014

Salad Days, My Way - The Layered Salad

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall; 

And did it my way.

I've never really liked Frank Sinatra.  But he sang some good songs, even long after his voice was gone, and this was one of them.  He didn't write this, Paul Anka did, which may also account for why I like it.  I like Paul Anka.  Sinatra, not so much. (And if you are one of the readers who thought "Sinatra who?", see if you can Netflix the first "Godfather" movie.  Don Corleone should have slapped him harder.)

There are many millions of blogs out there.  Some are very well-known and widely read, and this is not one of them.  I'd say Inspiration Nation borders on the obscure.  Still, there is a small, loyal group that does follow what is mostly a cooking blog, and I was wondering if anyone actually tries any of the recipes.  You can leave comments on the actual blog, as I would love to hear from you, about the recipes or anything else.

I try to post something everyday, a recipe and/or an ear worm story, so I just wanted to mention that there will be a period of 6, maybe 7 days, where I won't be able to post.  I also won't be able to cook, so that works out okay, I guess.

I'm writing this to be the last post before I sail away from Port Canaveral, so I want to leave you with more than just one recipe.  Ear worms are at your own discretion.

Layered salads are quintessentially American, extremely practical in that you can prepare a salad, with the dressing, the day before you plan on serving it, and it is capable of endless variations.  The first time I tasted a layered salad was at the home of a coworker, back when I worked for the American Hull Insurance Syndicate.  It was very similar to this recipe for a simple seven layer salad.  What grabbed me was the addition of the peas as well as a layer of cheddar cheese.  It was so good, I could have eaten it in lieu of anything else on the menu.

My father-in-law loves salads, so I always try to have something I know he'll enjoy.  For years I have made Paula Deen's Cornucopia Salad for Dad, an absolutely awesome variation which includes water chestnuts, bananas, nuts, and raisins in addition to the usual ingredients.  It makes a gorgeous presentation in my 2 quart glass soufflĂ© dish.  I have come up with a number of variations, some successful, some not so much.  If you google layered salads on the web, you will have hundreds to choose from; this one is the classic, though, and I recommend you try it first.


1/2 pound bacon
1/2 large head iceberg lettuce - rinsed, dried, and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
5 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
(1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped - optional eighth layer)
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Crumble and set aside. (I cook my bacon in the oven, at 400-425 degrees. I also chop it first).

In a large flat bowl, place the chopped lettuce and top with a layer of onion, peas, shredded cheese, cauliflower, the optional green pepper and bacon. (I prefer a deep glass bowl.  For this, I used a 1 quart glass souffle dish).

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, sugar and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle over salad and refrigerate until chilled.  You can double the dressing ingredients and seal the entire top of the salad.

Like this one.  All twelve layers of it.   Not even sure I wrote down what I did, but you get the idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment