Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Mullaney Salad

As a kid, I was a little weird.  When my friend Christina got glasses, I had to have some.  I carefully began to have trouble reading the blackboard, had increasing trouble seeing my music at piano and generally began to lose my vision.  Come to find out, an optometrist can TELL if you're lying about that stuff.  Then, I saw a teenager with braces...so, I walked around for months with tin foil on my teeth.  One day, in 2nd grade, I saw her.  Coming down the hall was this most majestic creature.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  My mind started racing about all the ways I could go about achieving what this girl had.  It was 3rd grader and she had BROKEN HER LEG.  She had the whole gig going on...white plaster cast, crutches.   This is how I met Mary Beth Mullaney.

Turns out, Mary Beth was the oldest of four Mullaneys.  Steven was next, then Cathleen (same age as my sister) and sweet little Brendan.  These kids and my sister and I would turn into friends and remain so...Steven is married to our former roommate Alyssa, Cathleen and Katherine have been close friends since elementary school and Brendan thought I was the dream girl when he was in high school.  Why is everybody laughing, dammit?

So, what the hell am I trying to tell you people?  It's all about their mom, Fran. Of course, back in those days, she was "Mrs. Mullaney" but we're all mature adults now (at least that's the theory) and we can call her Fran and she'll answer. Fran is a lot of things:  good faithful Catholic, super mom, vacuumer extraordinaire (no, really), philanthropist, athlete, beautiful and she's a damn good cook.  So, to answer your question, what I'm trying to tell you people is about the "Mullaney Salad."

I don't remember how old we were when we got the recipe, but we've been making this for years.  Katherine got it first from Fran and says Fran calls it "garlic salad."  That's a good name; it has so much garlic in it that one time I was accused at work of drinking that morning because of the garlic leaching out of my skin.  That's a true story.  So, for many, many years now, Katherine and I have been making what we call "The Mullaney Salad."  We've taught it to other people as well.  Not sure if my cousin Brooks is making it right now in Hanoi, but I'm pretty darn sure Amy is serving it up in Longmont, Colorado.  

Not only am I going to share it with you, but I had the pleasure of having my sweet little Vivian make it with me the other night.  She was so proud of her Mullaney vinaigrette (I'm teachin' the kid big words, ya see) and lettuce, as you can plainly see from the pix.  So, eat, drink and stink up the joint with this most amazing garlic (Fran) Mullaney Salad!  **Full Disclosure** I don't have Fran's actual recipe anymore, so each time I make this, I have to do "what looks right".  So, these measurements I'm giving you are approximate and you can tweek at will.  

Mullaney Salad
  • 1 head romaine (Fran says you wash your leaves, dry them, wrap them in a towel [like a baby] and put in the fridge.  I must admit, I often skip the lettuce swaddling because I'm impatient)
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt (the coarser, the better)
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 3-4 shakes of Worchestershire
  • some pepper
Using the back of a spoon, mash the garlic with the salt. The idea is to use the salt as an abrasive to make the garlic into a paste of sorts.  Then, whisk in the vinegar, mustard, Worchestershire & pepper; whisk in the olive oil last.  Taste it and adjust the flavor as you wish.  Let it sit for awhile as you cook the rest of your meal.

Toss lettuce with vinaigrette, croutons, parmesan, etc.  I like to add toasted pine nuts too.  It's your salad; do what you want.  My sister Katherine thinks it's best to mix up the salad a few minutes before serving because she likes the lettuce a little on the wilty side.  But, again, it's your salad :-)


  1. This looks awesome. Is 2 tsp of garlic enough though? Or are these heaping teaspoons? ;)

  2. It's the best salad ever. When I use the jarred, minced garlic, I use about 2 tsp which I think is about the same as 3-4 cloves. Adjust based on the size of the salad you're making too. Try it tonight; you'll be glad.

  3. This might be my favorite post so far. Too funny, girl! Love love love the cute pictures of the Vivster!



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