Remember that salad I made yesterday? Well, I didn’t leave it just there. Yes, todays salad is made almost entirely from yesterdays ingredients. It’s a smorgishboard of ingredients that make this salad one you might need a bib (for your drool) once you bite into it.
What I loved about this salad is it didn’t require any special ingredients I had to run to the store for. In fact, everything I used was already in my house and I just took what I had from dinner the night before, added a few things from my fridge that would be expiring and voila! You can do this too, ya know. I’ll help you… don’t worry.
One thing I constantly get remarks about is how I can make salad dressing. People are fascinated that I can just “make” one up. My mom taught me a long time ago about the fundamentals of salad dressing. Remember… there’s no ranch dressing here but I can show you too how to create salad dressing on the fly. Be sure to check back on a tutorial on how to make salad dressing.
Now, one of my favorite things about this salad in particular is the fact that I changed the taste of the salad by simply doing ONE thing, to all the ingredients. I grilled them. Remember that Weber grill that I oh so love? Yep, it came in handy on this salad too! You are going to notice in lots of my salad recipes most, if not all the ingredients will be grilled. You talk about changing the face on lettuce, (no pun intended) we are changing the face on salad. There might not be a much better taste in this world than that of a head of grilled lettuce.
Grilled Forget-Me-Not Salad
Lettuce- Take any leftover lettuce you had from above mentioned salad (Cold Beef Salad) and slice the head directly in half. Now, one of my favorite varieties of lettuce to grill is Romaine. Its got hearty leaves and a strong spine that can handle the heat of the grill, but once grilled, it offers a savory taste that leave you asking yourself “Is this really a salad?”
Beef – a leftover cut from the Cold Beef Salad or the leftover remininets from a juicy steak you might have had out to eat, or at home.
Refrigerator Leftovers- Yes, go to your produce drawer and look at what is in front of you. For starters: look for some salad basics: onion? green onion? peppers? avocado? tomatoes? cilantro? corn? Don’t be afraid to look at fruit or even canned fruit! I took my sons leftover peaches he didn’t eat from the can the night before.
Take lettuce and slice the head directly in half. I was making a lunchtime salad just for myself, so I saved one half of the lettuce for later. Take the other half and spray with some olive oil. Here, I used the Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer ($13.50) filled with light flavored olive oil. If you don’t have this AWESOME tool, its ok. You can order one but in the mean time, just lightly drizzle some olive oil up and down the cut side of the lettuce.
Once you’ve ID’d all your ingredients that your going to resurrect into this salad, keep them in their wholest form you have. (IE: DON’T CHOP…yet.)
You’ll see here I had: Romaine, left over beef (London broil) Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, peach chunks (from the can)
Get the grill hot and place ALL your ingredients on the grill. The lettuce will grill the quickest(about 1-2 min) so be sure to check it and don’t walk away from it. You want it to just have a slightly charred look.
I placed the onion and peaches onto a grill plate, so they wouldn’t seep through the grates of the grill. I placed the red bell pepper directly on the grill, flipping often. The leftover beef? I placed on indirect heat, because I didn’t want it to cook further, but just reheat: so back of the grill it went with a burner OFF.
Once everything was finished on the grill, now would be your time to chop!
Lettuce in small chunks
And the remaing ingredients after that:
Combine all ingredients into a salad bowl
Next up! Salad Dressing Making Time!
For this salad I have some sweet going on (peaches and peppers) and hardiness in the meat and onion. I opted for a punchy spice driven salad dressing to offset the sweetness brought. Spice you ask? Yes… I am choosing cumin here. Now, folks cumin is a spice that with a little, it will go a LOOONG ways. But it can be subtle and refreshing when used properly (hence, here in this salad.) Just WATCH how much you put in it!
For the remaining parts of my salad dressing a decision has to be made. Most obvious is our base ingredient: oil. MOST of my salads I will usually use vegetable oil. I prefer its lighter taste it offers and its flexibility to adjust to different salad components.
The second most important part of the salad dressing is the bite: the vinegar. Here I chose to half the vinegar as 1/2 part red wine vinegar and 1/2 part lime juice. I chose lime juice here because of my decision to use cumin. It would really bring out a freshness in the salad, add some zest to the peaches and provide another dimension to this salad.
As for measurements I use 1 part oil to a 1/2 part of vinegar (in this case a 1/4 part vinegar, 1/4 part lime juice). You ask whats a part? You make that decision on how much dressing you need. But say to take 1 cup oil, you would take a 1/2 cup vinegar, or if you take 1 coffee mug of oil, you take a 1/2 coffee mug if vinegar and so forth. Get it? Look realistically at how much liquid volume you are creating and decide if you need to downsize your “measuring cup.” You wouldn’t need 1.5 cups of dressing for a salad your eating alone I hope!!
After I have my “base” it’s time to get fun. Don’t go overboard here but do add some more dimensions. We’ve talked about cumin already but garlic powder and salt & pepper are always easy to add, and bring a wealth of taste to the table. After that.. “get kinky with it” as my husband would say! I chose to get REAL wild (jk) with adding some Tonys. Like I said, don’t go overboard.
Mix it all up and drizzle over your srumpdidilimptious salad!
Ladies and Gents: you have a Forget-Me-Not salad. And you didn’t run to the store to finish the salad!!