It's funny how something that's just daily fare to one person is exotic to another person.
Carmela includes quite a few salad recipes in Entertaining with The Sopranos. I have a little problem with her use of arugula, escarole and watercress. They're just not carried by my local Safeway and Sobey's. But Carmela throws in some basic iceberg lettuce every once in a while, just to show she's still a Jersey girl underneath all that hair and those nails.
Her Arugula and Mushroom Salad is easy to make. Arugula torn into bite-sized pieces and white mushrooms very thinly sliced, served in a dressing of 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, with a dash of salt and pepper.
Nice and easy and the salad keeps Tony and the kids regular.
Okay, I make do with iceberg. We are talking salad for a retired couple, not for a formal state occasion.
Ma was not big on salads. I don't know why and it's too late to ask.
Ma usually served canned vegetables. The smell and taste of tinned peas and vacuum-packed corn make me feel like I'm sitting at Ma's table.
When it came to fresh green peppers, globe artichokes, eggplants and late in the season, home grown, baseball bat sized zucchini, Ma had a favorite recipe. Mimli or stuffed. Ma dipped into her never ending supply of bread crumbs. She then mixed the crumbs with eggs and bits of other vegetables. Then she'd stuff, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and bake.
As I explained when I wrote about Ma's Timpana, Maltese go beyond simple into downright retarded when it comes to starches. If you're trying to lose weight - problem. If you're stretching a dollar - perfect.
The Arugula and Mushroom Salad is easy and I'll make it again, with regular lettuce.
But, I'll make the Mimli vegetables, too. They make me feel like I'm sitting at Ma's table, too.
Another recipe down. Sixty-two more to go.