A couple of my (Nicole) girlfriends come over on Sunday nights for Game of Thrones, wine, and dessert. So much dessert! They usually stop by a local bakery and leave the leftovers for me. I had them over a little early tonight to have dinner first. Since I knew dessert and wine were coming and it was a hot day I decided salad would be on the menu for dinner. I wanted to recreate two of my favorite salads from restaurants in my former home town of Seattle. The Pagliaccio from Pagliacci Pizza and the Palermo from Tutta Bella. I had menu descriptions of both but took liberties of my own and had to guess on the dressings.
First up the Pagliaccio- the menu called for “green leaf lettuce tossed with garbanzo beans, diced red peppers, Kasseri cheese, salami, red onions and our Dijon vinaigrette”. I gathered all the ingredients.
I didn’t have Kasseri cheese so I substituted Parmesan. I also added sugar plum tomatoes and (not pictured above) shredded basil. It’s difficult to see in the photo, but I almost always use low sodium canned beans. I also rinse them before use, I like to control my own salt levels. All chopped up the ingredients looked beautiful.
Seven large basil leaves, one cup chopped cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a cup of salami (we all agreed that the amount of salami should be increased), one medium red bell pepper, one can garbanzo beans, 1/3 cup chopped red onion (I left the onion on the side since they were strong and not everyone likes them), and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan.
I like mixing my vinaigrettes in a mason jar. It’s quick and easy to shake. One garlic clove finely minced, 1 tbsp Dijon, a dollop on honey, 1/6 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
I put this in the fridge on got going on the Palermo. The menu listed “arugula, orange, fennel, taggiasca olive, red onion, reggiano, lemon, extra virgin olive oil”.
I didn’t have taggiasca olives so I just used green olives. Instead of dicing the ingredients like I did with the Pagliaccio, I sliced these thinly. I used a potato peeler to slice the Romano.
About half a cup of Romano, 1/3 red onion (again left on the side), 1/2 cup fennel, 1/2 cup green olives, one navel orange. I also added about 1/3 cup fennel fronds.
In the restaurant the dressing was just olive oil and lemon juice. I blended 1/4 orange, 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, 1 tbsp honey, salt, and pepper.
I finished the Palermo with one chopped avocado, all mixed together!
Served with bread, these salads were a great dinner for a hot day. I’ll make them both again. I really enjoyed the addition of the tomatoes and basil to the Pagliaccio. More salami next time! I need to play with the dressing some more, it’s not quite as good as what I get at the restaurant not as creamy but I’m not sure how to make a vinaigrette creamier. Ideas? I was very pleased with the Palermo. Avocado added a nice smoothness and healthy fats. I’m also really glad I made a dressing (especially the orange part!) instead of just topping with lemon and olive oil.
Have you ever tried to recreate a restaurant dish at home? How were your results?