Salads are eaten in most parts of the world and have been a popular dish to eat since the days of the Roman Empire. They were made with leafy vegetables that were topped with a salty, oily dressing. The word salad comes from the Latin word sal, which means salt. The possibilities of how to make a salad are endlessly delicious.
Some salads have everything tossed together and others are composed. What’s the difference between a tossed salad and a composed salad you might ask? A tossed salad is just that. The name is pretty self explanatory. Whereas a composed salad, or salade compose in French, is a salad made with many different ingredients that are neatly or artfully arranged side by side on the plate.
As with many dishes, the Chef’s salad originated by using up small bits of sliced meats and cheeses that were placed on top of a bed of greens and served with other vegetables and hard boiled eggs, to try to save money. Some people say it was created at the Ritz Carlton in New York, by Chef Louis Diat in the 1940’s. Other people say it was created by Chef Kevin Fabrizio in Dover, New Hampshire. Either way, it is has become a very popular American salad that is enjoyed by many.
The main ingredients for a Chef’s Salad are a couple of kinds of meat, usually either ham, turkey or chicken, a couple of kinds of cheese, vegetables and a hard boiled egg all artfully arranged on a bed of greens, served with the dressing of your choice. Those are the basics. The particulars are up to you.
I made our salads with julienned or thinly sliced ham and turkey with tomatoes, red onions, red bell peppers and green beans. Since I am not much of a cheese eater, especially NOT cold or bleu cheeses, I did not add cheese to my salad. Larry, on the other hand, loves cheese, so his salad was loaded with cheese. I put cheddar, jalapeno jack and bleu cheese on his salad. I whipped up a tomato-basil vinaigrette to dress up our our salads to make for a delicious, healthy summer meal, served with some warmed ciabatta and a glass or two of a cool, crisp chardonnay.
2 tomatoes, cored and cubed
1 small shallot
1 TBSP garlic
10-15 basil leaves
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Just put all the ingredients into the food processor and blend until it becomes a liquid. Or chop everything fine and whisk together by hand. It will be more of a blended dressing if you use a food processor, and a chunkier version if you mix it by hand. Either version is fine. It just depends on what you are looking for. Since it is all going to be blended together anyway, go ahead and use those ugly tomatoes. They taste the same, and no one will ever know they were the prettiest of tomatoes to start with once your dressing is made.
Once the dressing is made, arrange your salad then top with the dressing and enjoy all those cool, fresh flavors.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.