Monday, March 5, 2012

Salad Bouquets

It’s been a long winter, and it’s time for a taste of spring.  These are fairly simple to put together, but they won’t bring expressions of gratitude at a normal family meal.  Save them for an appreciative audience - where you’ll get a few oooh’s and aaah’s.  (Unless, of course, you have perfect children and a doting husband...)

I wanted to re-create this salad because I tried it when I was lucky enough to go on a cruise this past January.  I’m going to have to make a habit of cruising in January - something I’ve never done before.  I can almost guarantee that most of us on the ship (two months later in March) still dream of having our napkin draped in our lap and ordering anything to our heart’s content.  (It was pretty unusual for me, but I left my camera in my room for every meal except the last one - a true vacation from food blogging)
This was called “Master Chef Rudy’s Salad” - and the menu described it this way... “Selected baby greens surrounded with cucumber, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes - drizzled with a mustard cognac dressing”.  It was the last night of the cruise and served with a “napkin ballet” by the waiters.  The photo of the “ship version” is below.

Don’t be too impressed though - these are pretty normal ingredients, just arranged in a different way.  The only out-of-the-ordinary ingredients are enoki (or enokitake) mushrooms and jicama.  

I didn’t think I would ever find this mushroom.  But after a little detective work on google (I typed in “weird mushrooms” on an image search) - I was able to identify it.  None of my local grocery stores carried it, but I got lucky when I called an Asian market in my area.  Harmon’s would have charged me over $10 for a bunch, but at the humble little Asian market - a huge bag was only 99 cents.  Don’t you love it when you score like that?

I decided to add a little more color with matchstick carrots, snowpeas, and julienned jicama.  I have a julienne disc on my food processor that I can’t live without, and jicama is beautiful prepared that way.   My lettuce was different from the ship’s version as well - normal red leaf lettuce.  

Then I had to figure out how to make an unusual mustard dressing.  Sorry Chef Rudy - I don’t keep cognac around here.  I adapted this one that is supposed to be pretty close to Outback Steakhouse’s Honey Mustard dressing.  It really is delicious.  

But I cheated on the orange dressing - it’s good old Kraft Creamy French.  Someday someone will teach me how to “drizzle”... (as you can see, I can only “plop” my dressing)

For the details & recipe - go to:

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