This is an Italian inspired lunch in the form of a salad - it's like an antipasto in a jar. Travels very well but because it has meat and cheese, it should be kept in a cooler. For dessert, pick up some fresh fruit from a roadside stand, dip it in some cool and creamy mascarpone cheese and you have a fabulous roadside lunch. For a little extra zip, try drizzling the balsamic vinegar on the mascarpone before dipping fruit into it. Delizioso!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: zero
1 romaine heart, washed, dried and chopped
½ pint cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
10-20 pitted Kalamata olives, rough chopped
10 basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons or torn
1/3 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into small dice
1/3 lb. salami, cut into small dice
2 tsp. Diamond Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1/3 cup Lucini Balsamic vinegar
¾ to 1 cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
Layer the salad ingredients in a large Mason jar. In a small jar that has a lid, add the salt, garlic (if using) and vinegar. Close jar and shake to dissolve salt. Add ¾ cup of olive oil, close jar and shake well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. You may add additional oil and shake if you like your vinaigrette less piquant.
Pack the vinaigrette separately from the salad. Five to ten minutes before eating, dress the salad. You should start by using a third of the dressing and adding more to taste. You can dress the salad in the jar and give it a few good shakes, or toss the salad in a bowl to serve. Refrigerate and save any remaining dressing for your next salad.
Encores: Chop Chop salad is like an antipasto plate chopped up and made into a salad. It lends itself well to improvisation. If you have some leftover chicken, ham or steak, chop it up and add it to the salad in addition to or instead of the salami. You can experiment with the cheese as well. Substitute feta, chicken and rosemary in place of the fresh mozzarella, salami and basil and you will have a totally different and delicious salad. You may also add additional fresh or pickled vegetables that you have on hand.