No food waste here when your salad is served in an edible bowl!
I never really cared for salty foods until I had children. Not sure what having children has to do with my changing taste buds but I really enjoy salty foods these days. One such salty food that I absolutely love is parmesan cheese. Not the powdery stuff in the green container but the brick of parmesan that you can freshly grate over pasta, veggies, and in this case salad. In this recipe, however, I don't put the parmesan over the salad. Instead I put it under the salad - as a bowl! In this recipe I toss fresh lettuce and tomatoes from the farmers market with a Ceasar-style dressing and serve it all up in a salty and satisfying parmesan cup.
I've put an * by the items I can purchase at my Illinois farmers market.
For the parmesan cups:
1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
3 cups chopped butter lettuce or romaine lettuce*
1/3 cup freshly diced tomato*
For the ceasar-style dressing:
1 egg yolk*
1 clove garlic*
1/2 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat your over to 350 degrees.
Make your dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a blender. Blend until well combined. Transfer dressing to an air-tight container and chill in the fridge until using.
Next up is making the parmesan cups. Don't plan to make these until you're ready to serve your salad. This way they stay nice and crisp! So to make these you'll place about two tablespoons of parmesan cheese about three inches apart on a cookie sheet lined in parchment paper. Whatever you do - don't use wax paper. It will end terribly. Trust me. The goal is to put about six piles of cheese on the cookie sheet ( 3 piles long x 2 piles wide on the sheet). My next trick is taking the rim of a wide mouth bell jar and centering it over a pile of cheese. Spread the cheese out so that it reaches all side of the rim. This will make a circle of cheese about 3 inches wide. Repeat for each pile of cheese. Place the cookie sheet in the preheated oven for roughly five minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Working quickly take the cheese off the parchment paper and place it on the underneath side of a muffin tin (flip the muffin tin over - this is the underneath side). Press the cheese down over the muffin cup. Repeat until all six are done. Let these guys cool. Once cooled, gently take off and you've got yourself some snazzy little parmesan cups.
Toss the salad and tomatoes in your salad dressing and portion out into each parmesan cup.
Serve immediately! Optional garnish may include additional sprinkle of parmesan cheese and/or crunchy bacon or pancetta crumbles if you like salt on salt on salt.
Serving size: Makes six of the cutest little salad cups you've ever seen.