Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dirty Martini Salad a Salty Indulgence for the Summer!!

OK. I know that salt is both a boone and a bane to modern man. I mean salt has preserved, flavored and finished foods for centuries. Our bodies need it to function. But too much of it is a bad thing, especially nowadays with so much added salt added to everything we eat in this country. And yet still I love a good salty indulgence. It's that part of me that will always favor a salty snack over a sweet one.

I have had the opportunity over the last several years to go out to folks houses and prepare some great summer meals for them. This summer will prove to be the same I hope. I also come up with special recipes for entertaining during the summer on my roof deck. It's so awesome to be up there in the summer when my neighbors are not. And they rarely use the buildings roof, ah well more for me!

Two years ago I was invited out to Jersey to my friends John and Mike's house for a impromptu cookout. John asked me if I could bring a salad. I of course said yes. But time go the better of me that weekend with work being busy and Sunday morning I found myself looking at a bus trip in an hour and nothing prepared of even really though through. So I did what I always do, I looked in the fridge to see what I had on hand. After observing the goods, lettuce, green olives, red onion, and blue cheese, I came up with a crazy idea. I had been making martini's the night before for a client and it dawned on me then that I love to eat the marinaded blue cheese stuffed olives while I am drinking my Martini. The salty bomb of flavor just is so satisfying, even as the martini with it's bitter edge and sweet undertones strikes a contrast with the salty pungnet flavor of the olives and is in a word...divine.

So I thought about how I would make this flavor combination come to life in a salad. And it struck me, just mix all the elements into the salad and add a few things to give it texture and contrast and how could that be bad. So that's what I did. I chiffonaded the greens and I chopped the olives. I made a dressing out of sour cream blue cheese and vermouth with a little bit of spices, olive juice and vinegar. I added both chopped red onion and French Fried Onions form the can for spice and I crushed up some Parmesan Crisps I had into little chards to add crunch. It all came together beautifully and I had people asking for the recipe at the end of the afternoon.

So I give you this recipe for your summer party time. Shaken or stirred it's a winner! Enjoy Ya'll

Forrest's Dirty Martini Salad

2 Hearts of Romaine lettuce chopped into chiffonade
1 head of tuscan or black kale ribs removed and chopped into fine chiffonade
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 table spoon water
sprinkle of salt
8 oz blue cheese crumbled
1 carton on dairy sour cream
3 tablespoon olive juice from the jar
2 tablespoon vermouth (dry)
2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
1 small jar of green stuffed olives chopped into slices
1 large can French's brand french fried onion pieces ( 1/4 cup held in reserve for garnish)
1 small red onion chopped
1 package Eli's brand parmesan crisps slightly crushed into bite sized chards

In a bowl add chopped kale lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water and a dash of salt, toss and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes

In a mixing bowl add the next 7 seven ingredients and whisk to combine and dilute with the water a little bit at a time till your dressing had you desired consistency. ( mine is runny but lumpy)

To serve: Add lettuce and kale to a large mixing or salad bowl
Add the olives, both kinds of onion and the parmesan crisps
Add dressing to taste and toss till well coated. Top with freshly ground pepper and reserved french fried onion pieces. Enjoy!

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