Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Six Layer Salad

I gotta admit....this is Salad 101.  This is the salad that was recommended with the fabulous pasta dish posted yesterday.  It's just about as basic as you can get.  Just a few notes on it, however.

First:  iceberg lettuce.  Iceberg has gotten such a bad rap over the last 20 years or so.  And I don't know why.  Really, the nutritional difference between iceberg and romaine (per serving) is minimal.  And I don't know about you.....but I adore the crisp crunch that comes with iceberg.  Of course, you must "prepare" it properly.  This is how I do it:  core the lettuce (whack the core on the edge of your sink....the core will pop out).  Run cold water so it fills the head of lettuce between the layers.  Turn it over and let it sit in the sink for about an hour to completely drain.  Wrap the head in a clean kitchen towel (washed without softener), and then wrap it in a plastic grocery bag.  Let it chill in the frig for at least a couple of hours.  I guarantee you....you will be a crisp head of lettuce that will last for a long time.

Second:  using garlic Texas toast for croutons.  I will say that as a staple, I use Panera bagels (diced and coated with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt and baked at 325F for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally) to make my croutons.  I had only bought frozen garlic Texas toast one time.  ONE TIME.  Never again.  It was just awful.  But at the demo, Publix had used their own bakery Texas toast....fresh, not frozen.  Diced and then baked in the oven.  The croutons were just great.

Third:  dressing.  I almost always make my own dressings, creamy or vinaigrettes.  But this salad was so good and it used Marie's brand found refrigerated in the produce section.  Of course, you could certainly use your favorite dressing here, but this one really worked.

Lesson Learned:  You can teach a middle-aged dog new tricks....even simple ones.

SIX LAYER SALAD (4 servings)

3 slices bakery garlic Texas toast
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, coarsely chopped
1 large tomato (or grape tomatoes, halved), coarsely chopped
4 oz reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cooked bacon pieces
Marie's Creamy Italian Garlic dressing, to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.  Cut bread into bite-sized cubes.  Place in baking pan lined with parchment paper or Silpat.  Bake cubes 4-5 miutes or until toasted.  Set aside to cool.

Layer salad in serving bowl or on individual plates in this order: lettuce, cheese, bacon, and tomato.

Top salad with dresssing and croutons.  Toss (if desired) when ready to serve.

Recipe Source:  www.publix.com/aprons

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