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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seven (or Eight or Nine) Layer Salad

This is a classic salad made better by a novel dressing. The classic name is Seven Layer salad, implying, of course, that there are seven layers. The version featured in the photo was made by my twelve-year-old daughter Sara. It's a pretty salad, and has endless variations. For example, we can never settle on just seven layers.

We've started using a ranch-flavored dressing instead of the traditional layer of mayonnaise (yuck). We like this salad a lot.

Seven (or Eight or Nine) Layer Salad

Layer as many of the following foods as you like, as you have on hand, or as you think will fit in the bowl. We generally use a clear glass bowl for the complete visual effect.

1 head romaine lettuce
2-3 shredded carrots
1 bunch green onion, chopped (red onion works great, too)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 diced Roma tomatoes
1 thinly sliced cucumber
2-3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/4 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I like to use the large side of the grater)

We've found lettuce works well as a base, and that peas or eggs work well as the last layer before the dressing. I like to alternate colors, usually alternating green and non-green layers. After the top vegetable layer is in place, spread the dressing (see recipe below) over the top. Then garnish with bacon and cheese.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 package dry ranch dressing mix (7/8 ounce)
Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Spread over top vegetable layer of the salad.

There are two ways to serve this: you can toss it once it's on the table and everyone has had a chance to see how pretty it is. Or you can serve it by taking a cross section of the salad (rather than taking from the top).

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