TBT (which I'm using to stand for "Truth Be Told" as opposed to "Throw Back Thursday" for the purposes of this post), I had a longer, heartier topic I was going to post about today but I ultimately decided it just wasn't camera-ready. And so, out of respect for all you discerning readers, I put it on the back burner. In due time, my people, it will be posted and you will bow down to its glory. But today, just take this post for what it is. This is a post about a salad. One, truly phenomenal salad, however, that if nothing else, takes the cake for "Best Dressed" against all other salads in all the lands.
Behold, The Stetson Salad.
AMIRITE? That is one sexy salad, if ever there was one! Oh, and it tastes good too! Have I got you salivating at the thought of me handing over the recipe? Well first, I have to give credit where credit is due... Come on, don't be greedy!
This beaute of a salad comes from a wonderful little restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona called Cowboy Ciao. I had the absolute pleasure of patronizing this fine establishment a few years ago when I went to watch my mighty Colorado Buffaloes get utterly crushed by the ASU Sun Devils in football. But I'm no martyr (not all the time, at least). I saw the silver lining of the trip burning ever so brightly when my trusty Scottsdale advisor instructed me to order this salad. And Eureka! A love affair was born. A sheer genius, I tell you, the chef who created this. So now, without further ado, I present you with the formula for greatness:
I must make mention that I have found there is some debate about which ingredients to include and not to include as well as how certain elements are prepared. But since this is MY medium of expression, you'll get MY version, and you'll like it! (Hint: I don't like the salad with the Israeli couscous so I leave it out and I also prefer to use grilled or peppered salmon instead of the smoked salmon) but blah, blah "to each their own."
ROMA TOMATOES: Diced
PEPPERED SALMON: You can usually find pre-packaged peppered salmon in the refrigerated section, where you would find smoked salmon, at your local grocery store. Or you can grill salmon too. While the recipe calls for smoked salmon, I found it to be a little too... raw, for my liking.
ASIAGO CHEESE: Grated
CRAISINS: Them are dried cranberries, if you didn't know
SWEET DRIED CORN: I think you can find these at Whole Foods, if your local grocery store doesn't carry them but they are pre-packaged freeze dried corn - don't question it.
(Optional) ISRAELI OR PEARL COUSCOUS: Cooked
(As far as measurements go, all of the ingredients are pretty proportional to each other. You only need as much as you think it would take to make a "row" of the item and can adjust it to your palate's liking. Call me old-fashioned, but I usually do two rows of the arugula and one row of everything else, just so it still feels like a salad, ya know?).
PESTO BUTTERMILK DRESSING
(Sidenote: I like to drizzle the dressing in a zigzag pattern, perpendicular to the rows of ingredients, for maximum impact when I deliver the salad to expectant diners)
PESTO: 1/2 cup
SHALLOT: 1 roughly chopped
AOILI: 1 cup mayo with lemon juice
BUTTERMILK: 1 cup
COARSE BLACK PEPPER: "Peppered"
LEMON: 1/2 lemon (juice only)
SALT AND PEPPER: As needed
In a blender, blend the first 3 ingredients, then add the buttermilk, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend them all together.
And that's all folks!
Now if you don't line it up in neat rows, like a cute little garden, you don't deserve to be making the salad at all! And don't you ever forget that! (Also, I think the salad possesses more pizazz when served on a rectangular or square shaped plate, but that's just me). Best of luck, my pretties!