Of all the things I love the potlucks (seeing friends, sharing food, only having to make a single dish instead of an entire meal), I think my favorite aspect is the opportunity to try food from other home cooks.
While I like my own cooking, I find it woefully easy to fall into flavor and ingredient ruts. Eating food made by friends and neighbors is can be an opportunity reset weary taste buds and get excited about cooking again (of course, this all depends on the people who are attending your potluck. It can certainly be hit-or-miss).
This salad is an example of inspiration delivered via potluck. A couple winters back, I was at one and towards the end of the evening, someone brought a metal mixing bowl filled with tender lettuce, slivers of onion and wedges of persimmon. Dressed simply and very lightly salted, it knocked my socks off. I went back for thirds and made plans to imitate it immediately. Since that night, this salad goes into steady rotation the moment persimmons arrives.
My current version consists of a large bowl of red leaf lettuce*, a whole Fuyu persimmon (click here to see a illustrated piece on the different kinds of persimmons) cut into wedges and a couple tablespoons crumbled chevre. Some days, I’ll add shaved red onion and some toasted nuts, too. I put a little olive oil, fruity vinegar, salt and pepper into a quarter pint jar, shake until combined and drizzle over everything. Makes for a delicious lunch!
*I always buy a head and wash it myself. Makes for much fresher tasting salads than the pre-washed and bagged stuff, and it’s cheaper, too. Tear, wash and dry a whole head (I love my salad spinner for this). Bag it up and eat from it for 2-3 days. It’s one of those tasks that is easy to dread, but ends up taking less than ten minutes if you’re quick about it.
Have you discovered a new dish at a potluck that you’ve made your own?