Don’t let the name discourage you: This salad is one my sister and I devised years ago, when were were students and had no money. That meant purchasing such delicacies as artichoke hearts and hearts of palm put this in expensive territory for us. (If you really wanted to make it expensive, I guess you could add some cooked, cold lobster.)
I added the “Christmas” to the name because just adding the grape tomatoes to the salad gives it a festive red-and-green color. It’s simply dressed with lemon juice and really good olive oil, and people almost always like it.
Expensive Christmas Salad
1 clove garlic
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1 (8.8 -ounce) can hearts of palm
1 large avocado, ripe but not mushy
2 long ribs celery, with green part
1/2 large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
12-15 fresh grape tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Small bunch parsley, for garnish, optional
Mash the clove of garlic and rub it around the inside of a medium-large bowl. Set garlic aside for another use, or add to the salad, diced up, if you like a lot of garlic.
Drain and lightly squeeze the artichoke hearts to get some of the canning liquid out. Cut them in half, or if they’re large, cut into quarters and put in bowl. If any of the outside leaves seem tough, take them off and discard. Slice the hearts of palm on the diagonal, about 3/4-inch long and put in bowl. Dice the avocado and slice the celery, on the diagonal. Add to bowl. Dice the cheese and put in bowl with the tomatoes. Cut lemon in half and squeeze in juice of one of the halves, being careful not to get seeds into the salad. Pour over the oil, salt and pepper, then very gently mix. If you like, garnish with the parsley.
From Bonnie Walker
(Photo by Bonnie Walker)