Oh my gosh, I almost forgot today was the salad edition of Overwhelmed With Joy's Favorite Ingredients Friday. Cameron's here today. So that explains that! :-)
What could be more perfect for these long, hot final days of summer than salads?
This is the salad I've mentioned several times before, the one my family always requests when we're having a big family dinner. There's no actual recipe.
The secret to this salad is the combination of things that are in it. Actually, the bigger secret is the things that aren't in it.
All my life I made the standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber salad. Just your basic dinner salad. Then I met Suzanne. Suzanne was my next door neighbor when we lived in St. Charles, Missouri. She was from Santa Barbara and she was a California girl through and through.
We lived in a wonderful, friendly neighborhood and amazingly, we all had little girls right around the same age. (Oh, the birthday parties we had!) We lived on a culdesac and had block parties about once a month. Everyone brought a pot luck dish and I'll never forget the Saturday Suzanne was in a hurry and just threw a salad together to contribute. It was a simple salad, nothing fancy, but my word, it was (and is) the most delicious salad I've ever tasted.
A combination of lettuces: Romaine, red leaf, green leaf, endive - any kind of lettuce but iceberg (boring!) And fresh spinach. Lots of fresh spinach.
Add: sprouts (I like alfalfa sprouts), salted sunflower kernels, diced avocados and croutons.
I make my own croutons. I simply cut about half a loaf of French bread into large cubes and saute them in lots of butter over very high heat until they're nice and browned. I lay them out on brown paper to drain. The homemade croutons are a huge factor in the way this salad tastes.
Toss everything together with a light coating of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.
No tomatoes! No cucumbers! Those are regular, boring salad ingredients and will detract from the California-y flavor of this salad. I do add whole black olives sometimes.
This is a dinner salad to accompany a meal. But it's easily turned into dinner itself by adding cooked chicken strips.
Try it. I swear, you'll be amazed how good it is.
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or to contribute your own favorite recipe,
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