Southern Cuisine: Holle's Cracker Salad
My grandmother and great-grandmother were from Charleston and Savannah, and both were wonderful cooks. They specialized in Southern food and Low Country dishes, even though they didn't call them that at the time. Most were similar to Creole and Cajun dishes.
One of Granny's signature dishes was cracker salad. She brought it to every family function we had. She even had a cut glass dish reserved just for the serving of her cracker salad. Everyone loved this food - except for me! I was practically disowned as a child because I lacked the family affinity for the revered cracker salad.
I guess my genes finally caught up with me, however. As an adult, I acquired a taste for the dish, and sometimes I get a strong craving for it! I especially like it with barbecue and at picnics and other warm-weather events. I had to tweak the old recipe, of course, to make it my own!
Here's what you need to make it:
one sleeve of good quality saltines
one standard can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
finely chopped onions, to taste
minced garlic, to taste
Miracle Whip or mayonnaise (Granny used Miracle Whip, but I prefer mayo.)
salt and pepper
Creole or Cajun seasoning, to taste (Granny didn't use this, but I think it adds a lot of interest.)
Finely crush the saltines into a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, juice and all. Blend until the saltine crumbs are soft. Add enough Miracle Whip or mayonnaise so that the consistency of the dish is similar to that of potato salad. Add the seasonings, onion, and garlic, and mix again. Refrigerate for several hours, and serve cold.
I've played around with the basic recipe from time to time, adding this or that. Crumbled bacon or real bacon bits gives the cracker salad a wonderful flavor. Diced bell pepper is also a good addition. If you want the salad extra spicy, add chopped jalepenos or a few shots of Tobasco sauce or Louisiana Hot Sauce. Some people add chopped boiled eggs to the salad, also, but I like it better without them.
This is a great dish if you need something like potato salad but don't have any taters!
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