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My Recipes-of-the-Week are featured here on my Home page. You can find 2000 of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch over 125 Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. "We are all in this food world together." ~Melanie


~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~

IMG_1147Let'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.

IMG_1146If 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.

IMG_1152Truly 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.

IMG_1169Yours truly, Your local salad snob.

IMG_1123 IMG_1123 IMG_1123 IMG_1123 IMG_1123 IMG_1123 IMG_1123Iceberg 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.

IMG_1155My Favorite Big Salad:  A hoagie Chef Sans Bread:  Recipe yields instructions to construct one classic chef-type salad.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 1, 9"-round, shallow, rimmed soup-type or untrimmed pasta-type bowl; 1 condiment dish (coupelle)

IMG_2190Cook'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 2023)


~ Some Hot & Savory Open-Faced Sandwich History ~

IMG_0737There's no time like the week after Thanksgiving to dive into a discussion about open-faced sandwiches.  After all, a great percentage of our United States's population just spent the weekend making hot, open-faced sandwiches using their leftover turkey, dressing and gravy.  I'm no exception.  Shortly after sitting down to write my recipes for Kentucky's Classic Hot Brown and Pittsburgh's Original Devonshire, two iconic hot turkey sandwiches, both with rich histories, I took a break to research the finer-points of the open-faced sandwich. Why? Technically, open-faced sandwiches aren't sandwiches in the true sense of the word.

Unlike traditional sandwiches, open-faced sandwiches never sandwich anything between two slices of bread, & typically don't get picked up to eat with the hands.

IMG_0722The definition & origin(s) of the open-faced sandwich.

According to Wikipedia, an open-faced sandwich, also known as an open-face sandwich, bread platter, or, tartine (a fancy French word for an open-faced sandwich made with spreadable ingredients), consists of a single slice of fresh bread with one or more foods piled on top.  During the middle ages in 15th Century England, thin slices of coarse-grained bread, called "trenchers" were used as plates.  At the end of the meal, the food-soaked trencher was eaten by the diner (referred to as a "trencherman"), fed to a dog, or, given to a beggar.  Trenchers were not only the harbinger of today's open-faced sandwiches are they were the first disposable plates.

The precursor to the English open-faced trencher is:

IMG_0411The Scandinavian-style served-cold open-sandwich.

The precursor to the English open-faced sandwich (not known to the English at the time), is the iconic Scandinavian open sandwich (Danish:  smørrebrød, Norwegian:  smørbrød, Swedish: smørgäs), consisting of one buttered piece of bread, usually whole-grained rye,  topped with thinly-sliced cold items (cheese, steak, ham, turkey, shrimp, smoked salmon, caviar, cooked eggs, bacon, herring, fish filets, liver pâté, etc.).  A condiment, such as mayonnaise, or a mayo-based dressing was/is usually included too.  In the 17th Century, naturalist John Ray, wrote about what he experienced while in the Netherlands:  "In the taverns, beef hung from the rafters, which they cut into thin slices to eat with bread and butter, heaping the slices upon the butter."  

Versions of the cold Scandinavian-type open sandwich are served all over the world.  That said, in Great Britain, open sandwiches are rare outside of a Scandinavian delicatessen, except for the famous Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (a fondue-like cheese sauce "on toast"), historically served at the colleges of the University of Cambridge. The hot, hearty and somewhat messy-looking open sandwich, usually consisting of warm, sliced meat and a generous drizzle of gravy, or leftover sliced meat reheated in simmering gravy, is the traditional sandwich in poorer Eastern European countries, where they are eaten with a knife and fork for breakfast, lunch or dinner -- to turn leftovers into a meal.  The latter is the type of open-faced sandwich, I grew up eating.

IMG_0730When to call the food police about your open-faced sandwich:

130328_FoodPoliceBadge-picIn the United States, in the court case of White City Shopping Ctr., LP v. PR Rests, LLC, 21 Mass. L. Rep. 565 (2006), the judge ruled that to be called a true sandwich (from a legal perspective) the dish must include at least two slices of bread.  In many restaurants, many open-faced sandwich do not meet this criteria, although most served in diners and restaurants here in the Northeastern states where I live generally do pile the meat and gravy atop two overlapping slices of bread.  Oh my.  I'll no longer be throwing the term "open-faced sandwich" loosely around. Important:  before you pick up your knife and fork: 

If on your dish doesn't appear two slices of bread, (side-by-side or slightly-overlapping), you're only being served "half-an-open-faced sandwich".

IMG_0759"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)