Salad for Dinner

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.

Pagliaccio Ingredients

Pagliaccio 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.

Chopped!

Chopped!

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.

Ready to Mix

Ready to Mix

All together!

Pagliaccio

Pagliaccio

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”.

Palermo Ingredients

Palermo Ingredients

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.

20140608-190039.jpg

Palermo Chopped

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.

Palermo Dressing

Palermo Dressing

I finished the Palermo with one chopped avocado, all mixed together!

Palermo

Palermo

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?

 

 

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