Friday, September 9, 2011

7- Layer Salad (Claudia Style)

It would be pretty safe to say that everyone has either had or at least heard of 7-Layer Salad. It is also probably safe to say that there are so many variations of this out there that everyone has their own idea of what the salad contains. Even amongst my family, there is the frequent argument of whether to water chestnut or to not water chestnut. I usually land on the side of to 'not' water chestnut. It's not that I don't like water chestnuts, it's just not my favorite in this salad.

Growing up, this was the most requested dish for my mom to bring to pot lucks, picnics and get togethers. It seriously was never NOT on the list of dishes to make for any family function. So, for my birthday this summer, I brought a little of my mom to the party by making the 7-Layer Salad - Claudia's Style. As you will notice, it's goodness transfers to Minn as well, as I never was actually able to get a picture of the finished product...it was gone that fast.
 


As you can see, the pictures go in order until the bacon, then there is no more. But let me tell you, this salad includes just the right amount of creamy, crunchy, sweet and salty to add pizazz to any party you throw.

7-Layer Salad - Claudia Style
(that's my mom)

Ingredients:
  • 1 head lettuce, chopped
  • 4-5 Celery stocks, chopped
  • 1 small to medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 small bag frozen peas
  • 1 cup Helmsman's Mayo, I use the light version and still tastes great
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked, diced and chilled
 
 
Preparation:
  • Cook bacon (by your preferred method - microwave, oven, stove top, etc) till crispy, but not well done. Put cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towels and store in the fridge to chill.
  • Assemble the ingredients in the bowl in the following order: chopped lettuce, chopped celery, diced onion and frozen peas. Level the frozen peas as you pour them in to create an easy spot to spread the mayo.
  • Using a spatula, gently and evenly spread the mayonnaise across the top of the layer of peas. Most of the peas will be covered, but a few may show (see photo in upper right corner of collage).
  • Evenly sprinkle the sugar over the mayo and the Parmesan cheese over that. Wrap the bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate until serving.
  • When you are ready to serve, chop the chilled, cooked bacon into small pieces. Pull the salad out of the fridge and sprinkle chopped bacon on top. 
  • Very carefully (because the bowl will be very full), stir all the ingredients together and it is ready to serve.

Some potential variations:
  • A sweet onion can be substituted for red onion.
  • Oh, and you could add water chestnuts before the level of peas...if you would want to.
  • Regular Mayo can be used instead of Light, but I can't really tell the difference when all the flavors come together. Miracle Whip cannot be substituted.
  • Pepper bacon instead of regular bacon could add a fun kick.

Happy Cooking!

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