parmesan salad cups for salad week

Hi y’all, and welcome to salad week!

For those of you that are just tuning in, eight other “two snaps around the world” bloggers and I are dedicating an entire week to salad. Oh yes, an entire lovely week covering everything from tabbouleh to tropical chicken salad, with some spicier arrangements sprinkled in between. We’re about to get salad crazy up in here, if you know what I mean.

When I was invited to board this foodie-blog train of love, I was a little nervous. My palms began to sweat (gross). I felt light-headed. And yeah, I may have stuck my fingers under my armpits like Mary Katherine Gallagher and wished I was a superstar salad maker. What was I going to make? Thankfully, I was wearing deodorant that day. Phew. 

Speaking of locomotives, my train of thought started to roll: when I heard the word “salad,” of course, images of green, leafy leaves sprang up, surrounded by the usual shreds of carrots, bits of crumbled eggs, and croutons. A dab or dousing of a typical salad dressing. And I thought “diets,” of course. Something only Kate Moss would eat. (I swear if I ever see her in real life, I’m totally giving her a sandwich. And possibly a meatball. With cheese.)

I digress.

As I was brainstorming ways to make salad a more exciting eating adventure, I eventually thought back to my cooking class on Cook Street. One of our cooler assignments was to make a classic risotto, but instead of putting that luxurious carb in a regular ol’ bowl, we made Parmesan cups. Brilliant, I tell ya. It was an explosion of cheese and butter. So, I thought… 
What else could I put in a Parmesan cup?…
Noodles? 
Nah, too slippery.
Chocolate mousse?
Wishful thinking. 
{cue light bulb} 
I know, a fresh salad! 
{audience applause}.
I immediately did the Mary Katherine Gallagher superstar stance in my kitchen, receive a questionable look from my husband, and got to work.

The Parmesan cups are quite easy to make. All you need to do is heat a non-stick pan to medium high heat. Melt about a tablespoon of butter, and pour 2 tablespoons of ground Parmesan cheese into the pan. Spread it around to make an even layer. Once it starts to brown around the side, take the pan off the stove, flip it upside down, and start to gently scrape the sides down over a glass. As it falls, the cheese should drape in a layer around the glass. Make sense? It took me a couple tries on my first go-around, but I got the hang of it. 

As your Parmesan cups cool, throw together your favorite green mixture. My personal favorite….arugula, spinach, grape tomatoes, and shallots all tossed with the best Dijon vinaigrette on the planet. Word. Just assemble and eat! 
By the way, these are guaranteed to get a double-take from Kate Moss, or your money back. 

The fun doesn’t stop here friends!

Make sure to check out the other sassy ladies of Salad Week:

– AllisonDecadent Philistines Save the WordThe Tabbouleh That Made Me Cry
– Jeanne Inside NanaBread’s Head – Toughie’s Apple Salad

– KatTenaciously Yours  

– MonicaThe Grommom 

– KirstenComfortably Domestic  

– MeganWanna Be a Country Cleaver

Madelyn @ La Petite Pancake

Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama

And then, the grand finale…Salad-Link-Polooza on Saturday! Stay tuned for an epic party!

Parmesan Salad Cups
Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes 
Ingredients:
for the Parmesan cups:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup ground Parmesan cheese (more if needed)
for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (more if you want)
salt and pepper 
for the salad:
4 cups spinach/arugula 
2 shallots, minced
1/2 8oz pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half 
Directions:
for the Parmesan cups:
Preheat a non-stick pan to medium high heat. Melt about a tablespoon of butter, and pour 2 tablespoons of ground Parmesan cheese into the pan. Spread it around to make an even layer. Once it starts to brown around the side, take the pan off the stove, flip it upside down, and start to gently scrape the sides down over a glass. As it falls, let it drop around the glass and rest for a minute. Move the cup to a plate to cool. 
for the vinaigrette: 
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. 
for the salad:
In a bowl, toss together spinach, arugula, shallots, grape tomatoes, and vinaigrette. Take about 1/2 cup of the salad mixture and place into one of the Parmesan cups. Serve immediately.