Most everyone is familiar with the concept of a chef (or chef's) salad - meat, cheese, eggs, lettuce - done. It's simple to assemble and requires little to no cooking, which makes it perfect for nights like this one in the valley - where it was hot and gorgeous out and all I wanted to do was sit outside and bask in the last glimmering rays of light.
The origins of chef salad are somewhat unclear. Some say it's a specific recipe created by a chef at the Ritz-Carlton. Others say it's just an idea based on the Greek dish salmagundi. (Interestingly enough, salmagundi was the name of my high school yearbook. It means miscellany in that sense; just a little ValleyWriter trivia for you there...).
I interpret the name to mean "whatever the chef feels like putting in the salad," which usually translates to "whatever's in my kitchen." Here's tonight's offering:
ValleyWriter's Chef Salad
2 hearts of romaine
1 large tomato
1 thick slice deli turkey (about 3 oz.)
3 oz. baked ham
2 oz. gouda cheese
Your choice of dressing (I used Italian; Mr. ValleyWriter went with blue cheese)
Chop or tear up lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Divide between 2 bowls.
Cut tomato into wedges. Place half in a ring on top of each bowl of lettuce.
Cut turkey, ham and gouda into 1/4" thick slices. Place 1/2 on top of each bowl of lettuce, in layered rings.
Top with a pepperoncini and desired dressing.
Sit outside with a glass of wine or a cold beer and enjoy!