Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chef's Salad or a Cold Salad Plate

Chef's salad with Thousand Island dressing
In my wonder years, well over 40 years ago, I worked in downtown Chicago. At the time I was also dating a girl who would eventually become my wife. She also worked in the city and we often met for lunch at one of several local restaurants. If we were in the mood for pizza it was Gino's East. If it was skirt steaks and beer, it was off to Barbecue and Brew, featuring "all you can eat salad and all you can drink beer," also now closed. Imagine that, but that's another story.
One of the restaurants we visited often was The Cambridge House. They had one of those 5 page menus that had too many choices on it. My favorite quick lunch was a Francheezie, or a Chef’s salad with creamy garlic, thousand Island dressing, or a little of each.
The Francheezie This salad is more than a side salad, it is a meal. A Chef's salad is great for those hot summer days or nights when nothing else sounds good.
Chef's salad ingredients
6 slices bacon, cooked crispy, drained, crumbled
8 cups iceberg lettuce, washed, torn, or chopped
2 whole tomatoes, cut into wedges

12 cucumber slices
2 whole hard boiled eggs, peeled, sliced, or wedges
1/4 lb. Swiss cheese, cut in strips
1/4 lb. ham,
cut into strips
to taste thousand island dressing, creamy garlic, or both

toasted croutons, as needed
Hard-boiled eggs either sliced or wedges
Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. 
Crumble bacon pieces and set to the side. 
Prepare your croutons and set to the side. 
Prepare your hard boiled eggs. When cool, peel, slice and set to the side. You can also cut the eggs into wedges if you prefer. 
Slice the cheese and the ham into strips and set to the side. 
Cut the tomatoes into wedges and set to the side. 
Serve with your favorite salad dressing.
Wash the lettuce and spin dry. Rub a large salad bowl with garlic, tear lettuce into pieces, or chop and place into the salad bowl. The lettuce should be ice cold.
Place the tomato wedges around the edges, followed by the eggs; add the strips of ham and cheese.
Toss croutons around the salad and place some on a plate to the side with the Thousand Island dressing to be added by those eating the salad.

If I didn't order the Chef's salad, I would often order the Cold salad plate, which consisted of a bed of Iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges, a hard-boiled egg cut in half, radishes and your choice of three scoops of Chicken, Egg and Potato salad, or Tuna, Egg and Potato salad.
Iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and radishes
If you didn't want the  potato salad you could substitute that with cottage cheese and some fresh fruit. It really was a build your own salad plate. When you finished the trio of salads, you would pour your favorite dressings on the bed of lettuce, tomatoes and radishes. 
Egg salad, Tuna salad and American Potato salad

Keep in mind that these are retro salads and as good today as they were way back then. Why not post your favorite salad recipe in the comments section below, or follow this bog by signing up on the upper right "Followers" section. 
Serves 4-6

© TMelle 2014

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