House Salad, Unplugged

When we were in high school, summer was incredible.  Just about everyday was spent at the same beach, with the same friends, doing the same thing…a whole bunch of nothing.  For some reason, I was responsible for my little brother and sister so, like it or not, they went to the beach with me.  All day, everyday.  We’d get to the beach at maybe  ten or eleven in the morning and I wouldn’t see them again for another good five or six hours.  The three of us would unload the car and somewhere between the pool and the bar we’d go our separate ways.  I’d find my girlfriends, they were all ready oiled up, so I would break out my Ban de Soleil grease and lie back for a couple of hours of sun and a Diet Coke.  Can you imagine lying in the sun for a couple of hours?  After a few hours of heat and gossip my friend Andrea, we called her Ang, just like Barney called Andy in “The Andy Griffith Show”, would ask, “anybody want to go play Mermaid?” “Yeah.  Sure.  I’ll go.”, I would answer.  Y’all need to know we were the only ones who ever played “Mermaid”.  It was a long walk down the beach to the jetties which was the only place we played “Mermaid”.  For those of you who don’t know, the jetties is a man-made barrier of enormous, stacked boulders forming the north side of the mouth of Port Everglades, cruise ship capital of the world.  Well, ever so carefully we would climb up and down those rocks, slowly making our way to the end of the point.  It seemed so far, the waves would just crash against those rocks.  We didn’t dare look around or even think about what we were doing because one slip and we would have fallen far, far down those rocks and split our heads open like a Crenshaw melon.  It was well worth it, though.  When we were finally standing on top of the very last boulder, we’d fluff our hair and wait for a cruise ship.  Let the game begin.  We’d hear the bellowing horn of a ship announcing it’s departure, and see the mammoth vessel inching its way to sea, decks packed with pasty, white Midwesterners in their Hawaiian shirts frantically waving.  Ang and I would whip off our bathing suit tops and wave… like mermaids.  Long, slow waves to all those old people like a couple of beauty queens on a float.  We swayed back and forth as if listening to “Hey, Jude”.  Jaws dropped.  Women scowled. We laughed and smiled away.  We were happy.  We were stars.  Some years back when Andrea’s mom was going though chemo, I wanted to take her mind off things so I told her about how we played Mermaid.  She looked so resigned.  She dropped her head and looked away.  But when she looked back up, was she laughing.  Her eyes sparkled. Did she ever howl over that one!  I like that memory.  A little later Anj and I headed back for lunch and order the same thing, day in, day out, no matter who was there, this lunch was a constant.  Our favorite summer lunch was an iced coffee with milk, and a small dinner salad with blue cheese dressing, “just a little, please!” We would linger over that lunch for hours.  And that’s all we had all day.  That’s it.  Well, maybe another Diet Coke to take back to the pool.  That salad was always soooo good.  Cold and crunchy with lots of cracked black pepper and little bits of blue cheese.  Sometime in the late afternoon, the sun would begin its descent and I’d realize I still had my little brother and sister to track down.  After gathering them up, we’d make that long, hot trek across the asphalt back to my car.  My car.  I loved my little car, but in the summer it was a hot box, an inferno, a portable heater, and built far too small to house and air conditioner.  Top down, still hot as blue blazes, we’d drive over to the graveyard on SR 84.  It was always open and anyone could go in.  The road inside was really curvy and wound around and around.  In the summertime it seemed like the gargantuan cemetery sprinklers were always on.  So, top down, we’d fly through whooping and hollering, the kids screaming when that cold water hit.  It was glorious!   Wet and happy, we’d head home.  It was a GOOD summer!

This is my House Salad which can be served as a side salad or main course.  It pairs beautifully with everything.  Anything grilled or jerked, seafood, chicken, pork, even more vegetables.  Tonight we’re having my House Salad with grilled medallions of eggplant on garlic whole grain crostini.  Because Gorgonzola is kind of strong, I’m careful not to add too much otherwise it will dwarf the buttery mildness of the avocado and peach-like flavor of the mango.  Hey, peach would be good in this.  Just make certain the avocado and whatever kind of fruit you’re using are ripe.  The ingredients really compliment each other.  You’ll love it.  It’ll make you feel like a Mermaid!

  • Servings: 4 side salads or 2-3 as main course
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 large head leaf lettuce, washed, dried and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped into 1/4″ pieces, be careful – they’re slippery!
  • 1 ripe Haas avocado, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 2-3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, washed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 2-3 tbls. good olive oil
  • 1-2 tbls. white vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, toss gently.
  2. To avoid a wilted salad, serve immediately.


  1. Dana

    You brought another smile to my face. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks again for the wonderful memories and the wonderful stories you tell with the delicious recipes.

  2. Cynthia Paleologos

    Amazing, per usual. I’m going to make this for the paleologos get together, tomorrow. I think you missed your calling, you should be a writer!
    . I love and miss you.

  3. Alyson Kass

    OMG….you have me laughing and cring as always Alicia. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of my sweet sister Ang and our beautiful mama, Mrs. Beasley. You are the best!!!! xoxoxox

  4. Ana Isabel

    I was laughing and cackling all the way here in the Panhandle. Did you hear me all the way down south? I always wanted to be like you but I HAD NO IDEA that I was so much like you! My friend Cara and I would play beached Mermaid (we didn’t call it anything but that’s what it was). Alligator Point saw a lot more of our skin that was legally allowed. LOL
    Nice salad…pairing it with some osso bucco tonight.
    Muchos muchos besos, mi querida prima!
    Ana Isabel

    1. Alicia

      I love it!! And I LOVE osso bucco! Save some marrow for me! Lent, so no meat for 40 days and 40 nights, or something like that!! Can you say CARBS?????? XOXO, alicia maria josefina

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