By Cat, June 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
California is known as a major food-growing state and is especially known for its tomatoes, avocados and olives which, along with the base of greens, account for the name I gave to this salad. You could also add almonds (preferably sprouted almonds), another major California crop.
This is my own creation that I like to serve for outdoor barbecues. Romaine lettuce is my preference for the greens in this salad, as it compliments well the soft texture of the tomato and avocado. It works well with either a vinaigrette or ranch-style dressing. Serves 3 – 4 as an accompaniment.
I much prefer any brined olive (sold in open brine containers) to the heat-treated canned, olives. Brining is a type of fermentation accomplished by adding a salty brine to the olives which preserves them (if stored at cool temperatures), as opposed to commercial olives which are lye–cured, and then pickled in vinegar before canning to preserve the product.
Like all fermented foods, brined olives are rich in probiotic bacteria which offer many health benefits, not to mention wonderful flavor and protection from bad bacteria. My fav brined olive is Kalamata, the large dark green/black Greek olive.
See Zingerman’s (1) for lots more information about olives.
Ingredients & Equipment
- 6 – 8 cups Romaine or other lettuce leaves, torn into bite size pieces
- 2 -4 scallions with green tips
- ¼ – ½ cup shredded Romano cheese
- 12 -16 kalamata or black olives
- 1 – 2 vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1 – 2 ripe avocados
- Mediterranean, Balsamic, or simple vinaigrette, or Ranch-style dressing
- 3 – 4 salad plates
- Prepare dressing a few hours before serving. Place in cool spot for flavors to merge.
- Tear greens to bite-size pieces.
- Slice scallions and olives into rings.
- Shred/grate cheese; toss with greens, scallions and olives in large bowl with a bit of dressing, reserving some cheese for garnish.
- Dice or cut tomatoes into thin wedges.
- Remove peel and pit from avocados. Dice or slice into thin wedges (use same shape as for tomatoes)
- Assembly: Arrange dressed lettuce mix on individual salad plates, about 2 cups per serving.
- Arrange tomato wedges in a pinwheel pattern over the lettuce (or scatter diced tomatoes)
- Arrange avocado wedges between tomato wedges (or scatter diced avocado).
- Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
- Drizzle more dressing over all.
- Zingerman’s Guide to Olives (zingermans.com/article.aspx?articleid=article16)