After several years of quarterly dinners, our Gourmet Club is getting VERY creative with themes. Laura and Jeff announced the next dinner to be Swiss, as in “Fondue Party,” and gave Larry and me the salad assignment. !?! Sure, the Swiss have salads, one on the surface looked just right, a chopped salad with plenty of veggies. Wurstsalat – sausage salad. With weird sausage. I’m married to Larry, and a few of our members are Larry-ish, too. This salad needed familiar ingredients. My Wurstsalat defied tradition.
Google “Wurstsalat” and you will see that sausage — a pale pork baloney. Slice it thin and toss in tangy vinegar, onion, mustard vinaigrette. I cheated and used a spicy salami. For better or wurst, I wasn’t gonna eat that baloney.
But we DID get excited about the Swiss cheeses, and hit Wally’s Cheese Box, a tiny gem on Westwood Blvd. in LA, previously the cigar shop of Wally’s Wines. CHEESE is a much better use of that retail space and we bought three to dice into the salad. Which aren’t in the photo. That’s because we put the cheeses on a plate first so everyone could taste them. Grab some salad, top with cheeses, Swiss Enough.
Gourmet Club: what traditionally happens the instant we walk into the door, everyone DIVES into their meal assignments, the place goes wild with chatter, hands all busy opening wine bottles, louder and louder conversations catching up on trips, families, aging parents news. It is a feeding, talking, drinking frenzy with longtime friends. Good times.
John and Ricki launched us: authentic appetizer cheese fondue with bread and veggies, then Laura and Jeff (Jeff will admit, it was Laura who did this) made entrée fondues – seasoned broth in one pot, oil in another and plethora of sauces for table-cooked shrimp, chicken and beef. But we got carried away and quickly cooled the liquids (with all our fondue fork-cold meats in there), so Laura jumped up, hit the BBQ and within minutes, hog heaven grilled meats. Marlene and John brought chocolate fondue dessert and dip-ables from cookies to fruits. I had stopped using forks by then, and the next morning, was spraying clothes with stain remover – my Gourmet Club follow-up tradition.
Wurstsalat – My Version of Swiss Salad
- 1 head butter lettuce, washed
- 1 bundle red radishes, trimmed and sliced
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 1/4 lb. Emmentaler cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 lb. Gruyere cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 lb. Appenzeller cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 lb. sausage (your choice, I used a hard salami to be honest), sliced
- 1 cucumber, peeled, quartered and diced
- 4 Idaho red potatoes, cooked and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
To make the salad, make a bed of whole butter lettuce leaves on a platter. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Add the salad ingredients to the vinaigrette and toss until well coated. Distribute evenly over the lettuce leaves. Use tongs to serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.