I love salad. I usually eat some kind of a salad before dinner or just as a meal for lunch. Sometimes I will eat a salad for dinner on a hot summer night. One of my favorite salads to eat as a meal is the antipasto salad. The first place I ever had a good antipasto salad was at a local pizza place here on Long Island 30 years ago. After that day, I started making it myself. There is nothing to cook after all. No oven and no stove heating up the house. Which as a cook on a hot summer night, is a blessing. The main ingredient in most salads is just lettuce, usually Iceberg. I have found that as good as iceberg lettuce is, I often like to use Romaine and “spring mix” to change thing up.
Let start with the Antipasto Salad. Begin by washing and drying the lettuce and greens. I have a salad spinner to dry my salad greens and I love it. My sister in-law simply just uses a colander and lets the greens sit and drain well. I have even used paper towels in the past, because if your lettuce and salad greens are too wet, they will literally water down the salad dressing.
Now I begin to build my antipasto salad right on our large dinner plates instead of using one big bowl. Sometimes, if I am making an entire tray for the women in my wife’s classroom or for a party, then that’s a different story.
The lettuce goes on the dinner plate first. Now, I cut the deli sliced salami into quarters. I repeat this with the pepperoni, and the provolone cheese. I place all these items carefully on the lettuce, spreading them all out. On top of that goes some quartered plum tomatoes or garden fresh tomatoes. I add thinly sliced red onion and roasted red pepper that I cut into strips or diced into one-inch squares. Then, I add some canned sliced mushrooms and marinated artichoke hearts that I drained the juice off. If I have it, lastly I put on a whole pepperoncini right on top.
To season, I sprinkle with black pepper, Italian seasoning, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and add just a bit of either Wishbone Italian dressing or Olive garden salad dressing on top.
This is the first recipe I choose to talk about in the section on salads not because it is alphabetically first, but because right now, it’s my favorite.
So, get out there and make a salad. Here is another one of those places where you can experiment freely with the ingredients. I will be posting many more salads and homemade dressings in the future including:
Rotelle Pasta Salad
Spinach salad with hot bacon dressing
Italian Vinaigrette Dressing
Creamy French dressing and thousand island
Caesar Salad dressing
SO, watch for my salad recipes ALL summer before it gets too cold to eat salad…