Like many households, it’s pretty much tradition that when the grown kids come to visit, we cook their favorite meals. So when Amy came home this past weekend… in from Chicago for a little R & R… I knew it’d be no different. Her latest food obsession? Meatball Salad. We both had our first meatball salad in Chicago one night when I was there for a visit. Neither one of us could stop raving about it and since then, have made sure to order it whenever we’ve found an opportunity.
We thought while Amy was here, it’d be fun to get in the kitchen and create our own version. After a quick trip to the grocery store on Saturday, we set out that evening to make what would become… the absolute, hands down, most delicious meatball salad either of us have ever had. The salad portion Amy made, is based on a notoriously famous house salad from a restaurant in St. Louis called ‘Rich and Charlie’s’. The salad part of this is about as close as you can get to that. It’s an Italian salad that is best served with a little of the chill removed. Not exactly room temperature, but close. The flavor is enhanced this way and though I wouldn’t call it a “soggy” salad, the ingredients are a touch “heavier” and not as crisp as in some salads. Trust me, it works this way. It paired perfectly with the meatballs, which were made using the Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe I previously posted here on Mitts and Measures. I love these meatballs because they’re cooked in the sauce…not fried or baked… and are wonderfully moist, tender and just loaded with flavor. You can always make them up a day or two ahead if you want to save some time. (Just make sure to heat them before serving!)
What a fantastic combo. If you’re serving this for dinner, don’t expect much conversation at the table!
Rich and Charlie’s Salad
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 small head iceberg lettuce
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped pimentos, drained
1 cup sliced red onion
1 (8-ounce) can artichokes in brine (not marinated), drained
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp sugar
½ to ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
Break up the lettuce and tear the leaves into small to medium pieces. Place in a very large bowl. Add pimentos and onion. Crush the artichoke hearts over the bowl to break them up, then add to the bowl.
In another bowl or a salad cruet, combine oil and vinegar, sugar, and 2 tablespoons parmesan; mix or shake until incorporated.
When ready to serve, add dressing to salad to taste. Add ½ – ¾ cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, then toss well.
Per serving (based on 6): 405 calories; 40g fat; 6g saturated fat; 6mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 9g carbohydrate; 4g sugar; 3g fiber; 230mg sodium; 110mg calcium.
Adapted from a recipe attributed to Rich and Charlie’s restaurant in a cookbook compiled in 1989 by the Mothers’ Club of St. Louis University High School.