Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Viva Voltaco's Spring Salad reprised


Italian angels can cook, and they work at Voltaco’s in Ocean City, NJ, a seasonal Italian sub shop on West Avenue six blocks off the ocean and the boardwalk. In spite of being off the beaten path in this popular family beach resort, Voltaco’s is jammed with locals and tourists alike. They come for the fabulous food first and the angels second.

Aromas of freshly baked breads, pungent chopped herbs, and onions fill the small shop during lunch hour. A Voltaco's sub is wrapped in butcher’s paper, doused with Italian dressing and passed to eagerly awaiting customers. Each one is a blessing from heaven.

Owners Vicky and Joe Tacarrino are open during the summer months and make enough from their seasonal business to close up during the winter months. Next summer, if you are anywhere east of the Mississippi during the summer, go to Ocean City NJ and savor their wares. They are open for supper as well and sell freshly prepared and home made dishes ready to take home after a long day at the shore.

This salad is something we tried by accident when my wife decided not to have a sub. I tasted it and loved it every bit as much as their subs. We left determined to make our own version at home and our recipe follows. Here is our take on their salad.

Viva Voltaco’s.


One bag of spring mix greens
2 pared and sliced fresh pears
a handful of walnuts
crumbled blue cheese
Voltaco balsamic dressing (balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, honey, mustard)
Balsamic vinegar. 3/8’s of a cup
1 teaspoon, lemon juice
salt, a pinch
black pepper, a pinch
Creole seasoning, a pinch
Honey, 2 tablespoons
Naples Valley Hot Mustard (or your favorite hot honey mustard)

To make the dressing:

In a food processor: To the balsamic vinegar add the lemon juice, salt, black pepper, Creole seasoning, honey, and Naples Valley Hot Mustard. Pulse several times. Through the tube of the processor, drizzle 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil while continuously running the processor until all oil is emulsified with the dressing.
Chill for an hour.

To assemble the salad:

Rinse the greens and either spin-dry them or wrap them in paper towels to soak up all of the water. The water will dilute the rich flavors. Place in a large salad bowl.
Add dressing and toss to coat the leaves.
Peel the pears, core, and slice. Arrange attractively on top of the greens.
Take a four finger pinch of walnut halves or broken walnuts and sprinkle over the salad in a circular motion.
Do the same with the blue cheese.
Serve from the serving bowl into smaller bowls with two serving spoons or forks making sure to top each serving with representative quantities of the pears, walnuts, and cheese.

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