If you’ve ever been to one of those potlucks that looked more like a brownie cookoff than a healthy meal, you will understand why I started thinking about a way to make salads as an appetizer you can pick up and eat — no fork required. The possibilities with these little treats are endless!
- Shredded cheese of your choice (I used some parmesan and some sharp cheddar)
- Romaine lettuce
- Your favorite salad dressing
Using your best big nonstick skillet, heat the skillet to medium high heat. Only AFTER you have it up to temperature (hold your hand about 4 inches above and make sure you’re feeling heat radiating — be patient!), drop shredded cheese into separate little mounds with about 2 tablespoons of cheese in each mound. Allow to cook until the top side looks lacy. Flip the little cheese chips and turn off the heat. (It only takes a couple of minutes.) Allow the residual heat in the pan to very slightly cook the other side.
Get out your romaine lettuce, wash it, and prepare to chop it or cut it into thin ribbons. (If you like iceberg lettuce, I’ve seen it sold in bags this way in the refrigerated section of the produce department — shredded and ready to go. My husband won’t let me bring iceberg into the house — it’s not exactly a nutritional powerhouse, so that’s not an option for me.)
You can cut the lettuce by hand (or buy it pre-shredded as noted above) or use your herb scissors, as I did. They worked great. Next, mound the shreds on top of your cheese chips. You want a tight mound so the lettuce isn’t in danger of falling off.
The first batch I made, I used parmesan cheese for the cheese chips and caesar dressing on the lettuce. It was good — but a little salty. For the second batch, I did a few parmesan chips, but mainly sharp cheddar chibs. I split the lettuce shreds into different bowls for different dressings.
What I ended up deciding was that I didn’t need to split up the lettuce after all. Originally, I was putting the dressing on the lettuce, tossing it, and then putting it on the cheese chip. I subsequently discovered I liked it better with the plain lettuce topped with a dollop of the dressing. For one batch, I used Jalapeno Ranch dressing. It was wonderful!
After arranging my lettuce-topped cheese chips, I squoze (Geez, is that a word, or is it supposed to be squeezed?) on the jalapeno ranch dressing that I had placed in a squeeze bottle. Frankly, I think it would have worked just as well to put it on a spoon and drizzle it that way. Next, I got out dressing combo #2 — Bacon Ranch dressing and sugar-free barbecue sauce.
The proportion of Bacon Ranch to Barbecue is a very personal thing. I’d say I used a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 ratio of ranch to barbecue. Kinda depends on how sweet you want it. Start with the ranch and add your barbecue sauce a little dab at a time, tasting after each addition until you get it where you like it. On the right (above) was my caesar dressing. (Don’t worry. It tastes better than it looks.)