by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer
Happy July! These high temperatures call for a cool and fresh salad. Today’s recipe integrates creamy, fresh, and crunchy elements all into one salad: Creamy Parmesan salad. Easy to make (minimal baking required), rich and tangy (thanks to the dressing), well-flavored (sweet pear enhances the dressing, while the savory parmesan medallions and salty fried onions boost the savory side of the salad), and well textured (the many ingredients provide a myriad of crunchy, soft, and crisp textures). This salad will be sure to satisfy all your taste buds.
The base of the salad is easy to make: simply combine ingredients and dressing and toss together. The top of the salad is up to you to design! Want to make your salad fancy? Try fanning out slices of fruit and meat over the top of the salad; it will add restaurant-quality elegance to the overall aesthetic of your salad. Feel like scattering the toppings free-style? Go ahead! The salad is your blank canvas; any way you arrange the toppings, your salad will turn out delicious. Enjoy the fresh and creamy flavors of this salad and have fun making it.
Creamy Parmesan Salad
For the Cheese Medallions:
½ c. parmesan cheese
For the chicken:
1 chicken tenderloin
salt and pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
1 c. mayonnaise
½ c. sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
½ c. parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
For the Salad:
1 heart romaine lettuce
1 Asian pear
½ c. fried onions
½ c. croutons
Preheat oven to 350o. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Divide ½ c. cheese into 3 mounds, spread 2 inches apart from each other on the pan; press mounds into disks. Place pan in the oven and bake for 9 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and let sit for 5 minutes. Set finished medallions aside.
Start a pan on medium heat. Add oil to the pan. Rub chicken with spices and cook (grill, saute, fry, or bake) until the inside of the chicken is no longer pink. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Cut the chicken into strips and put in the refrigerator.
Prepare the dressing: in the container, mix mayo and sour cream. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for later use.
Prepare the lettuce: wash the lettuce in a salad spinner or rinse in a colander. Get out a new knife and cutting board.
Cut the heart of romaine: take off the outermost leaves of the romaine and discard. Cut vertical strips down the length of the romaine. Then, cut thin horizontal strips through the romaine, so that thin strips of lettuce come off the heart. Place in a large bowl and repeat until 1 inch from the bottom of the heart of romaine. Put chopped lettuce in the refrigerator for later use.
Cut the pear: Get out a new knife and cutting board. Core the pear and cut the pear in half, laying the flat side of the halves on the cutting board. Cut half of the pear into slices and half of the pear into small cubes, making sure to discard the middle. Set aside.
Make the salad base: In a new large bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, cubed pear, fried onions, and croutons (if serving immediately; if not, omit fried onions and croutons and add both when salad will be served). Add ½ of dressing to the base (add more or less if desired); toss with tongs until dressing coats all the ingredients.
Turn salad base onto a plate or bowl. Fan out chicken slices on top and artfully arrange cheese medallions, sliced pear, and fried onions on top of the salad base. Serve.
*With credit to Chef Liddick of CTC.
Dry and liquid measuring utensils, parchment paper, small sheet pan, small skillet, bowl, medium container with spill-proof lid, fork, salad spinner or colander, 3 knives, 3 cutting boards, 2 large bowls, tongs, large plate or bowl.