Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Everything Salad

Anything and Everything Salad - a mixture of lettuces and various toppings, here topped with broccoli, bacon, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, dressed with a sweet and sour dressing and topped with a buttery almond, pecan and ramen noodle crunch.
Anything and Everything Salad - a mixture of lettuces and various toppings, here topped with broccoli, bacon, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, dressed with a sweet and sour dressing and topped with a buttery almond, pecan and ramen noodle crunch.

Everything Salad

I love this salad. It's sort of a hybrid of Ramen Noodle Salad, Mandarin Orange Salad and Broccoli Salad with a few extras thrown in.

Really it can be made with whatever add-ins you like and, in fact, it's often referred to as "Anything and Everything Salad." Start with your favorite mix of lettuces, romaine, spring mix, fresh baby spinach, or mixed baby greens are good choices. Add in a choice of fruits like chopped apple, mandarin oranges, tangerines, pineapple chunks, cubed cantaloupe and other melons, sliced pears, hulled and sliced strawberries, grapes or pomegranate arils.

Enhance those with golden or dark raisins, dried cranberries, or other chopped dried fruit like apricots, peaches or apples. Add in shredded carrots, sliced cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, white, red or yellow onion, and seeds and nuts like sunflower and pumpkin seeds, pecans, cashews, walnuts or macadamias. Add proteins like smoked ham strips, grilled chicken, shrimp, or beef, or cooked, crumbled bacon and chopped hard boiled eggs. Whatever you like, anything and everything!

If you like to add a salad to your holidays, this is the one. It's made with a sweet and sour dressing we love so much in the south and with the inclusion of some fruit, it's sweet enough that everybody loves it. It will disappear from the table. Plus, it's easy to throw together even at the last minute and it's pretty.

The ramen noodle crunchies that are thrown in are so good that I insist that you absolutely must use them. I love to make a double batch to have some at the table so that everybody can add plenty to their own plates.

Did I mention that I really love this salad?

Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Everything Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min | Yield: About 8 to 10 servings


For the Crunchy Topping:
  • 1 package ramen noodles, crushed (discard flavor packet)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of kosher salt
For the Dressing:
  • 3/4 cup of salad oil (light olive oil, canola, or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
For the Salad:
  • 1 (1 pound) bag of romaine lettuce, torn
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, washed, spun and torn
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag of frozen broccoli florets, thawed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 stalk (rib) of celery, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan, or crumbled feta, gorgonzola or bleu cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, well drained
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix the ramen noodles, almonds and pecans; sprinkle with salt and pour melted butter on top and toss. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool until ready to serve the salad. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

When ready to serve, add all of the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl in the order listed, crack some fresh pepper on top and drizzle about half of the dressing on top, or just enough to lightly coat the lettuce. Add half of the topping; toss. Sprinkle on the remaining topping but reserve the remaining dressing for the table. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: Omit the salt in the topping if you use regular salted butter. For a main dish salad, add in a protein, like smoked ham cut into strips, or grilled chicken, shrimp, or beef.

Swap-outs and Add-ins: Fresh baby spinach, mixed baby greens, chopped apple, sliced pears, tangerines, hulled and sliced strawberries, pineapple chunks, cubed cantaloupe and other melons, pomegranate arils, raisins, carrots, sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh avocado, white, red or yellow onion, cucumber, other dried fruits, chopped, other seeds and nuts such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts or macadamias, crisped prosciutto, pepperoni, salami or chopped, hard boiled eggs.

Tip: You can prep the ingredients ahead, but don't assemble the salad until just before you're ready to serve it. Toss fruits and veggies that oxidize quickly with lemon juice to prevent browning. Double the topping ingredients if you want to have some extra for the table. Trust me, you want to.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on November 20, 2012
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