As a teenager, who until recently only ate cucumbers as my vegetable intake (didn’t even like tomatoes), I somehow fell in love with a dish called a “Chef’s Salad”. While on annual visits to family in New York each summer, I had more and more of these substantial salads that often had crisp lettuce, ham, cheese, boiled eggs and an assortment of other ingredients. Doused in thousand island dressing, they were the cat’s meow. My sister took to packing a huge chef’s salad as baon on my long return flight home to the Philippines, and when I opened it up at mealtime inflight (I hated airline food then) my seat mates would almost always do a double take, one guy even offering to buy my salad rather than eat his little plastic container of beef or chicken with mashed potatoes. So suffice it to say, I love these salads, in most of their forms… and throw in cobb salads as well.
At home, chef’s salads are a great way to make use of leftovers after a long holiday period where your fridge it still chockfull with cooked and uncooked goodies. I made this chef’s salad for lunch one day, a huge platter for five people. It had some crisp romaine lettuce, slices of leftover southern ham, cold shrimp from a meal the night before, homemade boquerones, boiled eggs, baby carrots, artichokes, pickled radishes and olives. There were several kinds of tomatoes, pea shoots and some herbs thrown in. A shallot, mustard vinaigrette was the dressing of choice.
Crunchy, salty and creamy with hints of sourness in almost every mouthful. Some things are nearly life long favorites, and this type of Chef’s salad will always be on my short list.