I was planning on making my cousin Stuffed Manicotti and my Mom’s Garlic Bread one night for dinner dreaming about what sort of gorgeous dessert I could serve us when she suggested we make a salad or some sort of vegetable dish with our dinner. Buzz kill! There went my thought of the perfect dessert to pair with my Italian food fiesta.
She was right, of course. We should have some sort of item that resembled health on the menu that night. So eventually I ended up settling on making a salad prior to eating our main course. So I set about dreaming of the kinds of salads I like to eat and thought I might be able to come up with a salad that involved grapefruit or grapefruit dressing. (I had two large ruby red grapefruits I was wanting to use.) So when I floated the idea by my cousin, she reminded her delicate stomach can’t take a lot of fancy salad ingredients.
Back to the drawing board.
When I thought about it, a grapefruit salad or a salad made with grapefruit vinaigrette really does not go with an Italian meal. So I set out to find a salad recipe that would. I googled “Italian + salad” and found the most simple salad recipe I’ve ever seen at Cooking with Mamma C. The story behind the salad hooked me immediately. It’s a salad the blogger (Andrea) grew up eating every day in her Italian family. When she explained that it’s the most requested salad whenever she has guests, I figured it had to be a winner. Also, it’s just so dang simple. That really hooked me too.
Since it was just going to be me and my cousin, we cut the recipe in half. I omitted the green onion in the original recipe because I know my cousin doesn’t love onions. I also added a healthy amount of shaved Romano cheese. The end result was a super simple but largely flavorful salad. My cousin and I loved it. I could see why a family would eat this salad every day. (I ate it again for dinner the next night.) And why dinner guests would request it. I plan to add it to my salad rotation and/or serve it as an appetizer when entertaining. It goes great with Italian food but is so plain (but good!) that it could go with any type of cuisine.
Did I mention how simple it was to make?
- 9 oz lettuce (butter lettuce, romaine, mixed greens, etc.)
- white bottoms of 2 green onions (optional)
- freshly shaved romano or parmesan cheese
- 4 tsp. olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 3 T. white balsamic vinegar
- ⅛ tsp. garlic powder or 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 1 grind of freshly cracked pepper
- Make the dressing by adding all ingredients to a small jar and shaking to incorporate. The ingredients will separate so make sure to shake just prior to adding to the salad.
- If using a head of lettuce, make sure the leaves are rinsed, spun in a salad spinner and dried. (I used pre-packaged mixed greens sold in a tub.) Place your lettuce in a large bowl.
- If add green onion, rinse the green onions, snip off the root end and slice the white part of the onion thinly. Add the white onion slices to your salad.
- If adding cheese, shave as much or as little cheese as you want right on top the lettuce.
- Add the dressing and toss with two spoons to mix well.
- Serve immediately. Not recommended to keep any leftovers (if there are any!).