Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Best Chopped Salad In The History Of Ever


Ingredients:


Salad:

  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, fine chopped
  • 10-12 Asparagus spears (steamed for 4 minutes and then shocked in ice water), cut into 1/2 " pieces
  • 1/2 C grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (sun dried tomatoes are also delicious here)
  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and cut into 1/8 and then fine chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4 and then fine chopped
  • 1/2 can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed and rough chopped
  • 1/2 small ball fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3-1/2 (depending on preference) reduced fat bleu cheese crumbles
  • 2 slices of bacon, crumbled (or 2 slices prosciutto thin sliced)
  • 1/2 C toasted walnuts, rough chopped (or toasted pine nuts)
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 large basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
  • 1/3 C black olive slices (**not pictured as my wife was not in the mood for olives)
  1. Place walnuts in a small saute pan over low heat.  Toast until you can smell them (about 2 minutes) and set aside. This will bring out the nutty flavor.
  2. Thoroughly wash and dry all vegetables (use a salad spinner! If you don't have a salad spinner, you can get them cheap at your local kitchen and bath store--I killed a small forest drying produce with paper towels before I discovered the salad spinner).
  3. Chop all ingredients as specified.
  4. In an extra large bowl, combine ingredients and top with dressing.  Mix well.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish. 
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.              
You can serve with a protein (such as lemon pepper chicken, sliced Filet Mignon, or grilled shrimp).  I find this is a wonderful "meatless" option, though,  and I serve it once a week without an additional protein.

Dressing:
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled (Smash garlic with hand or knife)
  • 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil (must be first cold pressed, otherwise the flavor is altered)
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 t dried basil
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flake
  • 1 large fresh basil leaf, torn in half
  1.  Add all dressing ingredients to a dressing carafe.  Shake well and set aside.
TIP:  My girls are young, so this salad is hit or miss depending on their moods when I serve it.  Get the kids involved by having them wash the vegetables or combine/shake/add the dressing.  I have found the more they are involved, the more likely they are to eat it (unless it is "disgusting" that day, in which case I prepare a back-up of fish sticks or turkey dogs.  I eat neither, so it works out).  Enjoy!