We're flying to New Hampshire tonight. We'll arrive somewhere around midnight. This means that tomorrow is the day we'll do it all. All the shopping and all of the prep for Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws.
And so, I am making lists. Because I know my husband, and he'll want to be up and at the store tomorrow morning by 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. And a spouse with a list in his hand and an plan of attack in his heart? Is a happy spouse.
And so I'm typing in the recipe for Fran Drescher's Incredibly Fattening Not-Caesar Salad (from a Self or Shape magazine article that appeared in 1980, long before Fran became famous for her portrayal of The Nanny.)
This salad is my default for any festive occasion. It has the peculiar virtue of being both delicious and outrageously fattening. As such, it provides a nice challenge for those dieting slackers who think that they can safely double up on salad to avoid overeating on Thanksgiving Dinner chez Poppy. Because I have a cruel streak--small, but robust--I enjoy this sort of thing. Sorry, slackers. Stay away from the salad. Look around for some celery sticks and baby carrots instead.
The weird thing is that I lost the clipping with the ingredient list a long time ago, and have been preparing this recipe from memory ever since. And since my memory is not reliable, I need to start thinking about it now, so I write everything down and don't discover on Thanksgiving Day that I've forgotten about the pine nuts. Again.
The Healthy Stuff:
a head of Romaine lettuce
a head or two of Boston lettuce
a head Red Leaf lettuce
two tbsp minced red onion
a container of those grape tomatoes, halved
The Fattening Stuff:
a quarter cup of pine nuts/pignoli
a package of blue cheese crumbles (I think it's 4 oz.)
a box of seasoned croutons (and Joke can bite me)
The Killer Dressing:
Get a big jar or measuring cup of some kind. Start with a quarter cup of mayonnaise. Mix in a roughly equal amount of olive oil. Add balsamic vinegar to taste. I mix in enough to get it the color of a latte. And then, for a big salad, add at least two heaping tablespoons of white prepared horseradish, and no, I am not kidding. I make about a cup of this glop, to be sure I have enough.
Arrange the washed-dried-and broken-into-bite-sized-pieces (no shirking!) lettuce in a bowl nicely, with the sliced endive, halved tomatoes, minced red onion, and chopped avocado on top. Add the pine nuts, croutons, and cheese. Pour the prepared salad dressing over the salad and toss until the blue cheese and avocado start to break down and get incorporated into the delicious, but monstrously fattening melange.