If you read my last post, you know that I just returned home from an exciting trip to Taiwan. Well I survived, and it was pretty amazing. Let's just say that I need a little break from Asian food for a bit. Because I fulfilled my mission to eat. and eat. and eat. So to get me back in fighting shape (hahaha. I've never been in fighting shape), I decided a little detox was in order. So after I made this incredibly decadent beef stroganoff, a salad was next on my list. But not just any salad. My favorite salad in the whole wide world. There's a little Italian restaurant in a seedy strip mall back in my old stomping ground, Venice Beach. I even wrote a feature about it back when I was better known as "The Deviant Diner." Man, that was a long time ago. The Alejo's Salad and Chicken Parmesan made my little world go 'round. You could pick up a cheap bottle of vino at the 7-11 and dine in, or you could get it to-go and feast in your pj's. I usually preferred the latter. With the bottle of vino. But since my California days are over, I'm stuck attempting the hearty salad based on mere memory. Good thing the ingredients are listed online. Now if only they'd spill the secret recipe for that sublime salad dressing...
Is this the exact same salad as Alejo's? No, it's not. (Although Walt said it's better. Bless him.) I mean, what's not to like? And it really did hit the spot when I needed something comforting and familiar. It should at least hold me over until the next time I'm on the left coast. Or until they open an Alejo's in Atlanta. 'Cause that would be awesome!
Source: inspired by Alejo's Trattoria in Venice Beach, CA
Feel free to adjust the quantities of ingredients to your personal taste. This is just a guide, and how I like it done.
For the salad:
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup diced turkey breast
1 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 ounces genoa salami, cut into slivers
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded mozzarella
For the dressing:
3/4 cup good-quality olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with desired amount of dressing. I like this salad with a fairly substantial amount, but whatever is leftover keeps well.
For the dressing, add all of the ingredients into a blender or small food processor. Blend until the dressing is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust any seasonings, if desired. Yields 1 cup of dressing.