Long before Elaine was ordering her big salad at Monk’s and Melissa Clark was teaching the world to toss a salad with your hands or the New York Times featured the Lucali Salad, every Sunday my mother-in-law, Linda, was making a big salad.
Sunday dinner was mandatory at the Laganella household. And my mother-in-law, Linda, was our Nonna. I read this quote about an Italian grandmother which explains Linda completely – “The Nonna is the true head of the Italian family. She’s old and wise, so much so that your own father’s afraid of her.“
Linda would make the typical Sunday Gravy dinner – meatballs, sausage, pasta, and good crusty Italian bread. After we finished filling our tummies to complete capacity, out would come not just a big salad but a HUGE salad. Somehow we all found room for this refreshing and delicious salad. Everyone would pile the salad on our just used pasta plate because that little bit of meatball and gravy on a fork with the greens was a little bit of heaven.
Linda’s salad was truly a combination of a lot of flavors. She would start with iceberg and romaine. There were always cut-up tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, black olives, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and any other vegetable she had in the refrigerator. She always added freshly grated Locatelli cheese right before mixing the salad. It was usually quite a game in the kitchen when she was grating the cheese because her sons were always trying to nip off a piece of the cheese and she was always swatting them away. When the salad arrived at the table the youngest grandchildren always seemed to somehow make finger puppets out of the black olives much to the horror of my father-in-law who firmly believed you should not play with your food.
I am just going to include the recipe for the salad dressing because I am sure you get the idea for the salad from my description.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ + ⅛ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
I hope you all have enjoyed meeting Linda and will use the month of May to make cherished memories.