It was mostly inspired by traditional German Wurstsalat (a "salad" based on boiled sausage such as lyoner or regensburger) another version of which I had on our recent visit to the Alsace, where it was heavy on the cheese and served atop a bed of greens. In Germany, Wurstsalat is simpler and made from thin-sliced strips of sausage (and sometimes emmentaler cheese, depending upon which region's version of the salad is being served) piled high and tossed with onions and pickles in a vinaigrette.
Here, I substitute ham for the sausage, and pair it with gruyère. And then I add in everything that would be amazing on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich: pickles, fried onions, mayo, spicy mustard...
Ham and Gruyère Sandwich Salad
The keys to this salad are to use good deli ham in equal parts to gruyère cheese, to pile it HIGH on the salad, and to make homemade croutons from a hearty, thick loaf of pumpernickel or rye (the croutons are also fantastic made from my black molasses and carrot bread).
one head of lettuce, washed/dried/torn into chunks
4-5 slices (100 g) ham, sliced into thin strips
1 cup (100 g) grated gruyère cheese
2 dill pickles, sliced thin
1 cup homemade croutons (from pumpernickel or rye bread)
1/2 cup fried onions
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 -2 Tbsp vegetable oil
freshly ground pepper
1. First, make the croutons in advance. Slice the bread into cubes, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the oven until crispy. Let the croutons cool and store in a plastic bag until ready to use. Croutons can be made in advance and kept for a few days.
2. Mix the dressing ingredients together. I like to put it in a jar with a lid and shake it up until everything is combined.
3. Toss together all the salad ingredients and drizzle with the dressing.