This recipe is cobbled together from multiple sources. My Aunt Paula makes this salad for Thanksgiving and other family events. I started trying to track down the perfect version of this recipe and started with what I consider the classic source: my collection of plastic spiral-bound church bazaar and Junior League cookbooks. I tallied up all the different recommended ingredients and amounts from dozens of nice old church ladies who brought this creamy, crunchy wonder to decades of Sunday suppers. Then I basically averaged out the required ingredients, adjusting for personal taste (not so much onion) and came up with the Master Recipe. This is science, folks.
Seven-Layer Salad (but don't try to count the layers or it won't make any sense)
1 bag of chopped romaine lettuce
1 bunch of celery (is that a bunch? What is the word I want here?), chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 of a medium red onion, minced
1 10 oz. box of frozen peas, thawed
1 cup of mayonnaise (approx.)
2 teaspoons of sugar
4 oz (1 cup) of shredded cheddar cheese
(1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional)
In order, layer the first 6 ingredients in a salad bowl (I like to use a glass bowl because it looks pretty from the side). Using a rubber spatula, spread the mayonnaise evenly across the top layer, making sure to completely cover the salad and to seal the mayonnaise to the edges of the bowl. Sprinkle sugar evenly over mayonnaise, and then layer with cheese and bacon (if using). Cover salad with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least overnight. Immediately before serving, toss salad together to evenly coat vegetables with dressing.
It's probably one of those dishes that you don't really want to know how to make. You just want to enjoy it in blissful ignorance. I have no problem with that. Just let me know when I should be there and I'll be at your house with a pretty layered salad for Sunday dinner.