7 Layer Salad

7 layer 2
When the mercury rises to 113˚f, it’s too damn hot to walk out the front door, let alone get in the car to drive somewhere. You need oven mitts so you can hang on to the steering wheel. And there is no godly reason you should be turning on the oven. It seems like the worst of it is past here in SO CAL (its only supposed to be 90˚f today, but I don’t believe it, because its already 80˚f at 7am). But it’s sure as hell going to be another salad night.

This salad goes by several different names (Layered Salad, Swiss Layered Salad, Summer Layered Salad, 24-Hour Salad), all of which have varied ingredients. But it always has peas, and a sweet, simple mayonnaise-based dressing.

When you make this, keep in mind that there is no rule that requires only 7 layers. Make it 10 or 15. Throw caution to the wind. I love adding lots of crunchy layers, including chopped celery, radishes, water chestnuts, or sweet red and yellow bell peppers. And why not make it a meal with a couple of sliced hard boiled eggs? In fact my favorite variation is made with 1/2 pound of bay shrimp or crab meat, an avocado, a cucumber, and a dilled up dressing.

The most important factor in the success of your layered salad is the actual layering. Use a large clear glass or plastic bowl so the layers show. If it gets tossed before it’s served it’s no longer layered. It’s just tossed, and who cares about a dumb-old tossed salad? Serve the salad with big salad spoons and dig deep so that each guest gets a bit of each layer.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium sized head of lettuce, shredded
2 cups fresh, or 1(8oz.) package frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup grated Swiss, cheddar, or jack cheese
1 medium purple onion, sliced and soaked in cold water for 15-20 minutes
2 tsp. sugar
8 slices of crisp, cooked bacon, crumbled

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. In a clear salad bowl, evenly layer half the lettuce, half the peas, half the tomatoes, and half the cheese.  Spread half the dressing on top of the cheese as evenly as possible.  Top the dressing with half the onions, and sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover the salad tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.   Before serving, sprinkle the top of the salad with crumbled bacon.  Serves 6-8.
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