Saturday, January 19, 2013

Deconstruction – A Salad with a Twist

I am going to dedicate this post to my friend Cathy in New York. She was asking about my blog and when I was going to get back to it. It is something I really loved and yet time seems to be a challenge and then days weeks and months go by and I forget about how enjoyable it is to blog; to write about food; to express myself. So here's to you Cathy! Thank you for suggesting I write. I hope you have a chance to read this, enjoy the post and maybe try out the dish!

Last night my sisters and I got together to help my mother celebrate her 70th birthday. There is a bigger party coming but we just had a little family get together for now. Whenever we do something like this we all pitch in and bring something. My sister asked me to bring a salad. We deliberated over what kind. She was in the mood for a vinaigrette with blue cheese and avocado. I rather thought a good blue cheese dressing sounded better. Then there is the issue that so often happens at get togethers... you toss the salad and half of is not eaten. You cannot save salad after it has been dressed. It just becomes a soggy mess as we all know.

So I got to thinking.... what about a deconstructed salad? But my youngest sister is so picky about wanting her salad tossed. So I opted to do a sort of combo. I took some of the ingredients and tossed them with olive oil and lemon juice. In this case I used romaine lettuce, blue cheese crumbles, red onion, red bell pepper, tomatoes and avocado. Then I tried to artfully place all the vegetables I was using on a large platter putting my signature blue cheese dressing in the center for those would wanted it. And flanking the dressing, I placed the pre-tossed salad. I think the display came out very nicely. And it worked well for a small to medium size group of people. I will definitely try this again! And the best thing is, all the left overs are in great shape and I have a good amount of my favorite blue cheese dressing left over for my get together today with friends.

Blue Cheese Dressing

1 cup mayonaisse
1/2 cup half and half
4 oz. blue cheese (crumbled)
1 tsp. grated onion (I use a little more)
1-3 garlic cloves (diced fine)
1 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium size bowl. Add more lemon juice to taste. I often also add a splash of Worschester Sauce. It adds just a little something to the flavor.

For best results, refrigerate for at least one hour before using. This allows the flavors to truly marry and come together.