Crackers are just the crowning glory. Underneath it has everything – Artichokes! Salami! Macadamia nuts! Orange segments! Did I mention salami? If it sounds crazy that’s because it most definitely is. Crazy delicious.
Get a big bowl. You need space to mix a salad like this. You also need an open mind. The list of ingredients is diverse and messy but it all works. The idea is to get a good melange of fresh, salty, crunchy, pickle-y, umami, a little bit of bitter and a touch of neutral.
Saltines though? Why saltines?
That’s the best part. Serve the salads with a saltine or two on top so everyone can crush up their own garnish. The saltine becomes a crunchy, crouton-y addition that takes this salad eating experience to a whole new level. The crackers, salted tops only, are the key to greatness.
Feel free to swap out ingredients based on what you have in your fridge/pantry. No salami? Try ham, canned tuna or even smoked salmon. No navy beans – go ahead and use kidney beans or chickpeas or romanos. No artichoke hearts – try pickles, banana peppers, or capers. Look for things in the same “family” and you’ll be good to go. Do not swap out the feta cheese cubes though, that’s important. Only because feta sold in cubes hold their shape perfectly. You don’t want a crumbling feta that disintegrates, or a soft creamy feta that turns your incredible salad into a sloppy mess. You could swap in cubed cheddar or others of that ilk, but the saltiness of feta feels right here.
And do not use a creamy dressing – this ain’t no place for Ranch. This is strictly vinaigrette time baby! Something with aggressive acidity would not go amiss.
Fresh – cucumber, fennel, orange zest, orange supremes, snap peas, avocado
Salty – Premium Plus saltines (with salted tops), macadamia nuts, feta cheese cubes
Acidic – olives, artichoke hearts, pickled onions
Umami – salami*
Neutral – navy beans, iceberg chiffonade
Bitter – castelfranco and endive
- Reserve the saltines on the side.
- Toss everything together with a healthy dose of assertive vinaigrette.
- Serve individually with saltines as garnish.
- Never look at salad the same way again.
*Umami Salami is a great band name