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Monterey Olive Salad

by Jane Wangersky | June 5th, 2014 | Recipes, Simple Solutions
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monterey saladI really meant to take a genuine New Orleans muffaletta to the potluck the other night, but, well, stuff happened, and I ran out of time to make the olive salad. Muffalettas and olive salad are a story in themselves, one that I may get around to one day. This time, however, I ended up just making a great big ham, cheese, and salami sandwich out of a round loaf split horizontally. It was fine, people ate most of it — and the next day I had a whole jar of olives to play with.

They were, fittingly enough, salad olives — green, pitted, and stuffed with tiny bits of red pepper. Not olives at their best; to me they’re a guilty pleasure, but then I like almost anything with too much salt. Anyway, I had planned to grind them up with a lot of fresh, strongly flavored ingredients that would make them seem like more than they were. Now I had to find some other way to bring them out of a 1950s cocktail party and into an appetizing dish.

I also had a little cheese left over from making the sandwich — Monterey Jack, simply because it’s a mild cheese I’d been able to find in a very small quantity. I also had the usual salad ingredients I keep around in summer. Here’s what I came up with:

 

Monterey Olive Salad


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Ingredients
  1. 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
  2. 2 tablespoons stuffed green salad olives, rinsed and dried
  3. 1 small tomato
  4. Lettuce — as much as you like
Instructions
  1. Chop tomato and combine gently with cheese and olives. Spoon on top of lettuce leaves and add your choice of vinaigrette dressing.
  2. You could substitute those little wrapped cubes of cheese, chopped in half, though they’d be a pain to unwrap.
  3. You could also use cherry or grape tomatoes.
  4. On the lettuce — I used three small leaves and ate this as a single serving for lunch, but it was really a little too rich for that.
  5. With more lettuce, you could get three or four servings out of this, making it a good side salad for a dinner with a lightish main dish.
  6. There’ll always be another potluck, and maybe next time I should try bringing this salad . . . Maybe it’ll replace muffalettas as my go-to potluck dish, though I know I’ll never give them up completely.
  7. Anyway, inventing Monterey Olive Salad makes me glad, for once, that I ran out of time.
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