This article originally appeared in Food52.
You know what’s been holding back your sandwich? The bread. This salad takes everything you love about an Italian combo—the meat, the cheese, the pepperoncini—and piles it onto lightly dressed Little Gem lettuce for a fresh, crisp way to eat your favorite cured meats. Plus, we still get the bread, reborn as croutons.
I have heart eyes for mortadella, so here it’s on display in two ways: au naturel and fried until crunchy. Think of this salad as a fridge emptier; if it could go on a sandwich it can go in this salad. Dill pickles? Go for it! Shaved red onion? Why the hell not! Throw in as many other cold cuts as you’d like (think: pepperoni, salami, soppressata). The limit does not exist!
I like to pile the dressed Little Gem lettuce onto a large plate and separate the toppings into sections, allowing me to choose a different adventure with every bite. If you’re the type that likes to fully commit, toss the whole thing in a big bowl and dig in.