Earlier I shared one of my favorite roasted potato dishes, Roasted Italian Potatoes . It is a great side for all sorts of awesome Italian dishes. While some prefer a nice pasta to accompany favorites such as Chicken Marsala, I really like my Italian potatoes. When I shared the recipe for the potatoes, I included a reference to a big, delicious salad complete with a photo. That’s when fellow blogger Ginger over at The Grand Experiment pointed out that it would be nice to have the recipe for the salad, too. Say no more – I’m always happy to oblige. So without further adieu, here it is . . .
Big Italian Salad with Basil Dressing
1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
10 big leaves fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
Roughly chop 1 cup of Italian (flat leaf) parsley. Place parsley into the bowl of your food processor fitted with a blade. Stack basil leaves, roll into a cigar and roughly chop. Add to the bowl of the food processor.
Combine all remaining ingredients in your food processor and pulse to blend. Pour dressing into a jar fitted with a lid and set aside until ready to use. Be sure to give your dressing a nice shake just before adding to your salad.
The Big Salad
1 large head romaine lettuce
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped hothouse cucumbers
1 large carrot, peeled into ribbons
Handful grape tomatoes, halved
Handful pitted olives
Ricotta Salata, crumbled to taste
Note: Ricotta Salata is an Italian sheep’s milk cheese. It can be found at Whole Foods, Gourmet and Specialty Markets. The cheese has a salty, slightly tangy flavor similar to that of Feta. This is NOT wet Ricotta sold in tubs. If you cannot locate Ricotta Salata, substitute crumbled Feta instead.
Washed, dried and tear or chop the lettuce into large, bite-sized pieces. Spread lettuce out into a large bowl and set aside.
Cut red bell pepper. Add to your salad bowl. Chop cucumber into bite-size pieces. Add to the salad bowl. Wash carrot well. Use a vegetable peeler to create carrot ribbons directly into the salad.
Grab a handful of grape tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half and sprinkle over the salad. Add a handful or so of both black and green pitted olives to your salad.
Toss everything together to combine. Chill salad well until ready to serve. Just before serving, give the dressing a good shake, then pour about half of the dressing to the salad. Toss to coat everything with the dressing. Crumble cheese and give it another good toss. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and additional dressing as needed.
Serve on chilled salad plates and enjoy.