This recipe of my parents-in-law is always popular at gatherings including potlucks, holiday events, and game night parties. It is a great “go-to” dish because it fits in with the food selection no matter the season. Plus, it makes a lot with relatively little effort and no actual cooking.
My in-laws usually serve it on or with smaller rolls. It not only makes the salad go further for a larger crowd, but it makes for a great finger-food as well. For potlucks and other gatherings, I find myself providing both rolls and tongs for the guest to decided how they would like it.
Although I am sharing the original recipe (with my variations listed), you can make many substitutions…meats, cheese, lettuce. However, I do have a few recommendations: 1). Stick to a variety of Italian deli meats or meats that won’t clash with the Italian meats. 2). Use a lettuce that does not wilt easily. The recipe called for ice berg, but I usually use Roman. It holds up okay to the dressing and has more vitamins and nutrients. 3). Use the Beeno sandwich dressing or the similar Board’s Head dressing. It is worth the search for it (or even ordering it) if it is not readily available in your local grocery stores (usually I find it around the deli). I think the key to the salad’s popularity may be the enhanced dressing :).
I can’t find spicy ham where I live, so I just use a good basic ham (the last time I made it I used Boar’s Head Lower Sodium).