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Monday Night Salad ala The Palm Restaurant

Mary Anne here. So I suppose this is “How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Part II.” As I had mentioned in my Key Lime Pie post, Michael was not about to allow the absence of electricity interfere with his deep and abiding love of food, and so he hosted our Hurricane Irene hosts, D & T, with an utterly tantalizing feast-on-the not-so cheap at The Palm.

As I perused the seductive menu, my eyes were drawn to a simple yet unique spin on Tomato Salad – a.k.a. “The Monday Night Salad.” When I asked our waiter for more details, he waxed eloquent about its virtues and confided that it’s a favorite of Palm waiters and bartenders alike.

I didn’t need further convincing and as I dipped into my plate of summer’s peak crop, I was instantly smitten by the fresh, clean flavor of rosy-ripe tomatoes amidst a pool of their own juices. I dissected my salad, hoping to discreetly suss out how to replicate it, but it’s so finely chopped that I had difficulty discerning the various ingredients. Forced to grill our waiter, he generously divulged that finely minced anchovies provided the scent of the salty sea, while sweet yellow onion rounded out the sugary burst of tomatoes.

Once home, I scoured the internet for a more complete list of ingredients, but came up short. Most of what I found didn’t look or sound anything like what I now craved. Not to be bested by a simple salad, I took matters into my own hands and created my very own version. I have no idea how accurate it is, but I can say it’s an absolutely dee-licious rendition and now claims my deepest affection as a favorite salad of the fading season.

Monday Night Salad ala The Palm Restaurant
Serves 6

Note: While dicing the tomatoes, save the juices, and with just a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, the natural juice of the tomatoes creates its very own dressing. And remember, tomatoes lose much of their flavor once refrigerated, so plan to prepare this an hour or two before serving. Chilling the salad plates is as close as you need to refrigerating this beauty. The tomatoes will wait at room temp on the counter top before you and your guests are ready to dive in.

Most people scowl with disdain at the mere hint of an anchovy, but please believe me when I tell you that they are sooo finely diced, you would never know that the almost ethereal scent of the sea is attributed to these widely maligned creatures. Try it. You might just be won over by their subtle, charming presence.

3 large, ripe tomatoes (about 2 lbs.), cored, seeded, and finely diced – $5.03
1- 12 oz. jar roasted red pepper, drained and finely diced – $2.89
1 small-medium Vidalia onion, minced – $0.94
1 tin of anchovy fillets, drained and minced – $1.89
3 scallions, white and tender green stalks finely diced – $0.89
¼ cup cilantro, finely diced – $0.99
sea salt and ground pepper to taste – stock
a splash of extra virgin olive oil – stock
½ cup crumbled bleu cheese – $4.39
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $17.02
Total Per Serving: $2.84

1. Combine the first 8 ingredients. Divide between 6 side chilled salad plates. Sprinkle with bleu cheese and serve immediately.