Y’all know what this is, right? It’s the response you give when your child or spouse is asking, “what’s for dinner” and you don’t have a legitimate response. It’s particularly an annoying question because not only do you not know what you are going to make, you are totally uninspired and uninterested in making anything at all.
Growing up, Chef’s Surprise came to mean one thing only in our house – salad. Now, that may not sound particularly good to you, but that’s only because you haven’t had the pleasure of a Miss Ann (my Mom) salad. Everyone in our home town knows Miss Ann can make a salad (and a sandwich) that is unsurpassed.
First she would start with the bowl. A huge silver thing large enough to feed a football team, but really just for our family of 5. Then she would begin to fill it with salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, anchovies, marinated artichokes, salami, homemade croutons, pepperoncini and whatever else she could find in the fridge. She would top it all off with a little olive oil and vinegar. This would be served with a glass of sweet tea with lemon and mint and a great big loaf of crusty bread to sop up all the drippings from the tomatoes and olive oil. Heaven!
My Chef’s Surprises tend toward a main meal salad or breakfast-for-dinner. I have learned to keep a few ingredients on hand so that when I am feeling unmotivated, I can “assemble” instead of “cook” which is really what “chef’s surprise” is all about. Bon Appétit.