We always have a Halloween Dinner Party and invite different people each time. Part of the reason we keep the guest list new is to keep the "Surprise" part of the "Surprise Salad".
Here are the simple ingredients. Yes, that is a spider on the cutting board! For each person you are serving, use four leaves of endive or narrow bibb lettuce. I prefer Belgium endive but it was sort of sad looking today. Cut the bottom ends off squarely so that the spears are all the same length.
Lay two spears in your hand, slightly overlapping.
Then pile some small greens, or spring mixture which you have slightly chopped, some dried cranberries, and a plastic spider. I just cut the spider off of a halloween ring. You can find them by the bag in most party stores. Add anything that you wish for the salad, but nuts get kind of limp from the moisture in the lettuce. (Live and learn!)
Put two more spears around the greens, completely encasing them, and use a rubber band to hold them. Place it on a level surface and squish it around a bit to make it stand up straight.
Tie a pretty ribbon around the bundle and remove the rubber band. This ribbon is printed "Happy Halloween" and it came from Michael's.
If you want to garnish the plate, use sesame oil and put orange drops around the plate. Then sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Needless to say, this looks best on a white plate.
Here's your salad. When they are served, have everyone untie the ribbon and the leaves fall down. Use any dressing you like, but keep it clear, like a vinaigrette, and pass it at the table. It usually takes a little while before the first person spots the spider! We have had some really wild reactions.
Now you know why it is called "Surprise Salad"! I usually make them all up early in the day and store them in a plastic container that has straight sides. I just plate them in the kitchen as everyone is sitting down.
Here's last year's place setting. I'll post more about the table next week.
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