We make an Italian Salad in a large wooden salad bowl and serve it family style. The classic Italian Salad should include crispy iceberg lettuce, ripe tomatoes, carrot shavings, red onion slices, cucumber chunks, black olives and croutons. Always serve it with a red wine vinegar & olive oil dressing. Do not add Dijon mustard to the dressing – you can if you like it, but it just won’t be classic Italian. Pepperoncini is often added. This time I added some grated Ricotta Salata, a firm version of sheep-milk ricotta cheese, on top for an extra special touch.
Classic Italian Salad with Red Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil Dressing
- 1 head iceberg lettuce torn in bite-size pieces
- 1 small red leaf lettuce bunch- torn in bite-size pieces
- 1 carrot shaved in small strips (with a vegetable peeler)
- 1 small red onion very thin slices
- 2 cucumbers seeded and diced
- 2 ripe tomatoes seeded and sliced
- ¼ cup pitted black olives
- 8 small pepperocini - or cut in half optional
- 1 cup good croutons
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 TB salt
- 1 TB ground black pepper
- 3 TB grated ricotta salata optional
Make sure all salad ingredients are washed and chilled.
Add the lettuces, carrots, onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, pepperocini to a large wooden salad bowl.
For the dressing: Add the salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, olive oil and vinegar to a glass jar with a lid. Shake until well mixed. The dressing can be made a ahead of time. The extra time gives the garlic some time to perfume the dressing.
Add the croutons and dressing to the salad and toss at the last minute or serve the dressing on the side. Garnish with crumbled Ricotta Salata cheese for that extra special touch.