~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~
Let's discuss it over a salad at lunch. There's no counting how many times I've said those words. One thing is for certain, I said them and I meant them, because: a classically-made chef salad is my favorite item to order on a lunch menu. Let's be clear -- I don't diet and don't believe in dieting unless it's for real-deal medical reasons. Eating real and well, anything I want, in moderation + avoiding the drive-thru, has always worked for me. My opinion of trend-setting self-imposed diets is one you don't want to hear -- you can't handle the truth. That said, after Thanksgiving and prior to Christmas, I'm ready to eat a few less carbohydrates, so, I eat a few more salads. It's easy for me to do -- I love salad, and, they do not necessarily have to be fancy-schmancy. I made the one in the photo this morning. I'll eat half for lunch and half for dinner. That said, it's harder than one might think to serve me a salad that'll thrill me, and I'm talking about restaurant salads.
Dear restaurant chef: Take the salads you serve seriously.
If you bring me a salad with brown-tinged or wet lettuce, or, so help me, hard-cooked eggs with horrid green rings around the yolks, it's going to be sent back to you -- as many times as it takes for your kitchen to get it right. If I request extra onion and tomato, they'd better be there in force -- piled high for me to sit up and take notice (I am happy to pay extra for extras I ask for). If I ask for all turkey and no ham, or vice versa, and I find a chard of either, I will know someone picked through a previously-constructed salad and served it to me. I always ask for my dressing to the side, and, if you do not comply, there's a very good chance I will leave a tip but refuse to pay for your shoddy salad. And, always remember: We eat with our eyes first. Salad is no exception and when mine arrives at the table, you should want it to bring a giant smile to my face.
Make me a great chef's salad: I'll be loyal to you forever.
Truly I will. I am of the opinion that: If a restaurant kitchen can't pull off a proper salad, there's little hope for the rest of their menu. I don't mind croutons occasionally -- as long as they're made fresh in your kitchen -- if they aren't, leave them out. Trust me, no one likes cardboard croutons. I don't mind, under the right circumstances, your using deli-meat -- as long they're of high-quality and my salad isn't your reason to use up the "sticky stuff" that's too old to put on sandwiches -- one touch of my fingertip and I will know. That said, if it's chicken, steak or shrimp you're peddling, it needs to be perfectly-cooked and freshly-cooked -- tender, moist and at the proper temperature -- if it's been previously-cooked and refrigerated, don't serve it to me. While I would prefer your dressing be made in house, even I have some store-bought favorites in my own refrigerator, so, you get a pass for that -- unless it comes in those horribly silly packets. Sigh.
Even if it arrives via delivery to me: Make my dang day.
Iceberg lettuce leaves, diced sweet onion and seedless cucumber, Campari tomato and hard-cooked egg wedges, plus, super-thin-sliced deli- American cheese, turkey breast, deluxe ham and hard salami were used in the construction of this fantastic salad. The dressing is courtesy of Wish-Bone Lite Italian.
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 1, 9"-round, shallow, rimmed soup-type or untrimmed pasta-type bowl; 1 condiment dish (coupelle)
Cook's Note: ~ The Maurice Chef Salad ~ was the #1 selling item in the history of all the Marshall Field's Michigan restaurants. Composed a bit differently than today's chef salad, this one is indeed: All about the scratch-made Maurice salad dressing -- lemony, laced with sweet pickles and mayonnaise-based.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)