So we’ve mentioned a few times that Sara and I have been traveling a lot for some speaking engagements. Well, maybe not a lot a lot, compared to how some people travel, but a weekend a month is a lot for a girl for whom a big weekend is a trip to Lowe’s and Sam’s Club.
Our most recent trip was to Orlando and, miraculously, I didn’t have to fly out of our teeny tiny airport at 6:00 in the morning, which is usually when I find myself there. However, that did mean that I didn’t get to Orlando until late (well, late by pregnant mother of 2 1/2 children/rural Louisiana standards). I dined in the Atlanta airport during my layover, and by “dined,” I mean, well, picked at weird airport food. By the time I got to my hotel in Orlando and met up with Sara, I was ready to eat, even if it meant eating a second dinner. Saying that kind of makes me feel like a hobbit.
Sara and I crossed the street to this cool outdoor mall, in search of places to eat. We scaled a flight of unnaturally steep stairs, intending to eat at the Greek restaurant at the top of the stairs, until we discovered that it was a Greek restaurant with table-top belly dancers, which, while very exciting, was a little more zaniness than I was prepared for at a time when I am normally in my sweat pants with a dog sleeping on my feet, contemplating if it’s a socially acceptable time to go to bed. So we headed to Maggiano’s instead for our hobbit dinner. Well, my hobbit dinner–Sara only eats one dinner. At least as far as I know.
We ordered appetizers and salads and chatted and it was such a great way to unwind after a long day. And, shockingly, my salad was so much better than my prepackaged sandwich and grainy apple from the airport. When I got home, I tried to find a recipe for the salad that I’d eaten, and while I couldn’t find that particular salad, I found a recipe for their house salad. And I made it. And loved it. So I want you guys to love it, too.
It’s a very simple little side salad, no bells and whistles. Just a handful of good ingredients. For the dressing, you’ll need olive oil (light or pure for a milder flavor, extra-virgin if you want something a little more robust), red wine vinegar, sugar, water, oregano, salt, pepper, water, garlic, and Dijon mustard.
You’ll want to make the dressing first so the flavors can mingle while you’re putting everything else together. In the jar of your blender, combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil and oregano. Blend until well-combined, then, with the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Turn off the blender, add the oregano, and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate and set the dressing aside.
To make the salad, heat about 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, take the prosciutto…
add the cooked prosciutto, and toss lightly with the dressing until combined. Serve with additional dressing on the side to taste (you most likely will not end up using all the dressing, so save it for a rainy day).
Maggiano’s House Salad
Recipe adapted from food.com by Our Best Bites
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse-grained salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup olive or vegetable oil (depending on your preference)
1 generous pinch dried oregano
5 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
5 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
about 1/2 cup vegetable oil (for cooking the prosciutto)
To prepare the dressing, combine all the ingredients except for the oil and oregano in the jar of a blender. Blend until smooth, then, with the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Turn off the blender, add the oregano, and pulse 2-3 times or until combined. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the prosciutto and cook until brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, cheese, onions, and crispy prosciutto. Lightly drizzle some of the dressing on the salad and toss until combined. Serve immediately with additional dressing on the side, refrigerating any dressing leftovers. Serves 10-12.
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