Do you know how sometimes you make a dinner that is so resoundingly successful that everyone leaves the table full and happy?
This was one of those nights.
To be clear, dinner at our house is usually OK, but someone will always have a criticism of one thing or another. “It could have used more seasoning” or “It’s fine, but I don’t love it” or “I’m not really in the mood for [insert any type of food here]” or “I just didn’t fancy it” or “I’m not that hungry” or “It could have been presented better.” (The last comment seems to occur most often when we’re in the midst of a Masterchef season. Needless to say, I don’t take that comment all that well.)
But this ticked all the boxes. Delicious. Check. Relatively straight forward preparation. Check. Foods that we know and love. Check.
As an added bonus, it had a connection to Chicago, the city where we fell in love, earned our graduate degrees and started our life together. Needless to say, Chicago has a special place in my heart. “Garbage salad” is from there, and we used to eat it often [though they never called it this] at our favourite Italian restaurant when we were first married.
I’m not sure why it’s called Garbage Salad, but I do know that it uses loads of ingredients that we love that you don’t typically find in a traditional salad, including salami and provolone cheese. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not follow this recipe to the letter, because I knew from experience you can put any number of different things into a garbage salad. I didn’t use any of the things I knew we wouldn’t like: radicchio and radishes, I’m looking at you. I also couldn’t include some of the things she called for, like pepperoncini, which I couldn’t find anywhere.
But no matter, as it still was a Garbage Salad and it was still delicious.
The fried chicken also was a success. This required more than the usual planning to make, as you have to make a dry brine that the chicken needs to sit in overnight or for at least 12 hours. I managed, for once, to plan ahead and get it done. It was a step well worth doing, as the thighs themselves were full of flavour.
Like I said: Yum.
Will we have it again? What do you think?
A version of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken is on the BBC Good Food website. The only difference I could find is in the version I made you use boneless thighs, and on the BBC she uses any chicken parts. Click through that sentence to see the recipe yourself.
Alas, I could not find a copy of Jennifer Joyce’s Garbage Salad anywhere on the Internet, but this one is a pretty close copy. As I said above, I don’t think you have to strictly follow any recipe when you make Garbage Salad. The clue is in the name. (Though don’t add beans, like they do in this version. That is just plain wrong.)