Too hot too cook?
Yes it is.
I’ve been off hiking in the great north woods and when I got back to Minneapolis (where I used to live and am staying for a few weeks this summer), it was over 100 degrees.
100 degrees! Trust me when I tell you that Minnesota, land of ice and snow, is not made for 100 degrees. It was hotter here than it was at home in Florida.
Craziness. What can you do besides sit in front of the fan and drink gin and tonics moan?
Make salad, that’s what!
This salad is based on a recipe from The Columbia, a famous restaurant in Tampa and the oldest restaurant in the state of Florida. They have a big menu of Cuban dishes so I always feel a little sheepish that this “1905” salad – named for the year the restaurant opened – is my favorite thing on the menu. I always eat a huge helping and am too full to eat my dinner.
Good thing I can now make it at home. This is a hearty salad, full of great flavors, so it stands alone as a meal quite well….especially on days when turning on the oven to cook is just not an option.
Here’s what you need:
Iceberg Lettuce, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Romano Cheese, Tomato, Lemon, Garlic, Green Olives, Olive Oil, Worcestershire Sauce, White Wine Vinegar, Oregano, Salt & Pepper. (black cat optional but highly recommended)
Note: This salad is good whenever you make it but it is GREAT when you make the dressing a day ahead. The flavors of the dressing really come together after a day in the refrigerator so if you can plan ahead, please make the dressing in advance.
Pour 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil into a small bowl. Use a garlic press (or incredibly fine chopping/mashing skills) to press 1 clove of garlic into the oil.
This is a bold, garlic flavor (and I used half as much garlic as the original recipe calls for) so if you’re timid about raw garlic, add a bit less.
Season with 1 teaspoon dried oregano and salt & pepper to taste. Add 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
and whisk to combine all of the ingredients. You can also make this in a jar or container with a lid and give it a good shake to combine and emulsify the dressing.
Let the dressing rest in the refrigerator for a day if possible.
For 2 big, dinner sized salads, break 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce (also called head lettuce) into bite sized pieces. You could also use Romaine lettuce but the iceberg gives it a nice cold crunch factor.
Chop up 1 medium tomato and 1/4 cup small green olives with pimentos and add them to the bowl.
Add 1/4 cup of diced ham and 1/4 cup of diced sharp Swiss cheese. I buy a thick slice of ham at the deli counter and cut it into cubes. For the cheese, be sure to get an aged Swiss that has a nice sharp flavor.
Right before serving, add 1/4 cup Romano cheese and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce over the salad.
Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon
and add about 1 Tablespoon of the juice from the olive jar. I added this step to the recipe. In martini terms, I guess this makes this a “dirty” salad but that just sounds weird.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine all of the ingredients.
Note: I used only half of my dressing because I like my salad dressed a bit on the lighter side. If you want more dressing, go for it. Extra dressing keeps very well in the fridge for several days.
Dish up a big plate of salad. Be sure to scrounge around the bottom of the bowl for all the ham, cheese, and olive goodies.
Delicious on its own or as a side to your favorite dinner.
Now go sit in front of the fan.
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from The Columbia Restaurant