I have spent the afternoon looking for brand new revolutionary luncheon salads in my 8,493 cookbooks and you know what? There aren’t any.
We are hosting the very fine folks from Hospital Corporation of America on Tuesday for a community work day. The Millennial and I will force these top executives to do manual labor assembling shelving and sorting through a dizzying array of ceramic roosters and apple-themed pie plates from a very nice big box retailer that you would pay hundreds of dollars for but which we get for free because we’re just special. And we turn around and give them away to other nonprofits.
I want to feed the HCA group a nice lunch. Not store-bought. They are better than that. And so today I searched for that ground-breaking salad to rock their world. Did you know, for instance, that Cobb Salad hasn’t changed since 1972? That chicken salad has had curry in it since 1965? That the ubiquitous napa cabbage and ramen salad has been around since ramen hit the mass market in 1958?
My freshman year in college my English professor announced to the class that an original novel hadn’t been written in 400 years. That all modern works were takes on centuries old stories. It appears the same is true of salads.
So on Tuesday I will present my version of a pasta salad that first appeared in 1916. With it, will be a Caprese salad of farmer’s market tomatoes and fresh mozzarella that’s been around since the 1950s (just like me!). It will be better than sandwiches from Subway or pizza from Papa John’s (does anyone like their pizza?). But it won’t be original or ground breaking. It will just be good eats.
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 8-10 ounce package fresh tortellini
½ cup chopped yellow pepper
½ cup chopped red pepper
1/3 cup sliced green olives
1/3 cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup diced Italian dried salami
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Make the vinaigrette by combining the sherry vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until an emulsion forms. Reserve.
Boil the tortellini in 2 quarts of water for about four minutes or until al dente.
Drain and add the vinaigrette while the pasta is warm. Let the tortellini cool for about five minutes in the vinaigrette so the pasta soaks up the dressing.
Add the yellow and red peppers, olives, cheese, salami, parsley and oregano. Mix thoroughly and chill an hour before serving.