My social connections continued last night since Lindsay hosted a potluck last night (and yes, that’s me with a drawn-on mustache). I was put in charge of the salad, which I (not so) secretly love.
In the last few months I’ve somehow become known for my salads. And it’s a role I don’t take lightly. My salad spinner is one of my most used kitchen tools (though it’s now being rivaled with my new tea kettle). I’ve also got a salad dressing maker and make it a point to stop at an olive oil shop when I’m in Branson for work just so I can pick up new flavors for vinaigrettes (I’m currently hooked on the pomegranate vinegar).
Given I’m always looking to top my most recent salad creation, I was torn about what to bring for the Italian-themed potluck. I emailed Lindsay and told her to pick two options. She gave me her top pick and jokingly reminded me to embrace simplicity this month.
That’s when I realized it was just a salad…so why not combine recipes? I ended up merging a zucchini ribbon salad and Italian chopped salad. I also made the accompanying herbed red wine vinaigrette dressing from the Italian chopped salad recipe, though I also brought a balsamic vinaigrette just to be on the safe side.
Since I was combining recipes, naturally I took some creative liberties. I sauteed the zucchini (which I never would have thought to do for a salad) and toasted walnuts in a bit of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. I opted to use the Parmesan cheese listed in the zucchini ribbon salad instead of mozzarella like the other recipe suggested. The only two things I didn’t use from the Italian chopped salad were the green peppers (I figured I was doing well throwing onions in there, although I sautéed those with the garlic) and the french bread, since someone else was responsible for bringing that.
It looked so pretty all merged together!
I won’t lie — this wasn’t my favorite salad (my current favorite is pears, lo mein noodles and a toasted sesame dressing). It’s probably because there were a lot of dominant flavors, particularly with sautéed onions, kalamata olives and walnuts. I wasn’t daring enough to try to the red wine vinaigrette, but I imagine that would have added another burst of flavor. I’m thinking that when it comes to salads, less is probably more (simplicity rears its head again!).
Thankfully, though, the thing about salads is people are easy to please. Most people don’t think much of them — you throw lettuce, cheese, croutons and maybe some veggies together with dressing and it’s done. Maybe that’s what I love about them, too.