The salad with things on top heads the list of great dinners at our house. Our most common variation is the Ol' Reliable: a massive amount of greens topped with seared marinated tempeh. But what happens when you don't have any tempeh, or are in the mood for something else? Well. What other things could you put on top of your greens?
If you eat meat, you could have a green salad with chunk tuna (as in a salade Niçoise) or a tuna salad. I would go for either a traditional tuna salad or a more Waldorfy variation with apple or pear, toasted pecans, celery, and what have you. A tuna vinaigrette with capers would be great too. If tuna is not your thing, you could sear off a couple thinly sliced or pounded pieces of chicken or beef with a little garlic, slice them up, squeeze on a little lemon juice, and serve them on top of your salad. But if you want to keep everything vegetarian, it's a good plan to go for a chickpea salad, a white bean vinaigrette, or a liberal application of egg.
While it's certainly possible (and delicious) to make a big green salad with simple chopped eggs, it's substantially more interesting to transform those eggs into something more. This time, I made egg salad.
Butter lettuce with egg salad
Hard boil as many eggs as you want to eat. Ice them, whack them all over with the back of a spoon, and peel them. Rinse and chop; mix with a large spoonful of mayo, a smaller spoonful of dijon mustard, some finely chopped red onion, chopped chives or dill, and a spoonful of capers if you like that kind of thing. Season with salt and pepper. We put a little Tapatio hot sauce in this particular batch; I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be a great choice. Slightly spicy egg salad? Yes, please.
For your greens, core, wash, dry, and tear up a head of butter lettuce. If you want to use other salad greens, go right ahead; this works with nearly any kind of green. I might even deliberately choose a more bitter lettuce like endive, for a high contrast against the super-creamy egg.
When you're ready to assemble everything into one glorious plate of deliciousness, arrange a few handfuls of lettuce on your plate, and add some finely chopped red onion and any other chopped vegetables you'd like. Dress with vinaigrette (or oil and lemon) if you so desire; we had ours dry.
Now grab a fork, sit down, and eat.
I especially like this style of dinner because you don't just get full--you also feel great after you eat it. In the land of super-salted, oiled, and stomach-weighting dinners, this is a rare and precious commodity.