Romaine Leaves w/ Thousand Island Dressing

     The inspiration for this salad was the Iceberg wedge, popular in the 1950s and ‘60s. Literally a wedge of crisphead lettuce drenched in a thick dressing and topped with chopped tomatoes, the salad seemed to lose its popularity in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Spring green mixes and light vinaigrettes eventually took its place. However is the last few years, the wedge has resurfaced as a trendy menu item, often accompanied by bleu cheese dressing and nuts.
     I watched Paula Deen the other day and she made a wedge salad with a homemade Thousand Island dressing as a tribute to one she had eaten as a child. It looked good, but I didn’t have Iceberg, so I used Romaine leaves and made a few changes in her dressing and this was the result . . .

Romaine or Wedge Salad
Romaine or wedges of Iceberg lettuce
Thousand Island Dressing
Chopped tomatoes (allow ¼ to 1/3 of a large tomato per person)
Hard cook egg (allow ½ of a finely chopped egg per person)
Crouton toast*, if desired
(Other possible salad additions: bacon bits, chopped green onions or chives, grated Cheddar cheese or, add slices of grilled chicken or grilled shrimp for a main dish salad)

1.     Wash and dry lettuce. Separate Romaine into leave and pile onto a salad plate. Or, remove any wilted outer leaves from Iceberg lettuce; cut into wedges and place on plate.
2.     Ladle dressing across leaves or wedge so that it runs over one side. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and chopped onions and any other additions of your choice.
3.     Add a couple of crouton toasts to the side of the plate, if desired.

Thousand Island Dressing     Makes 1¼  cups
½ clove garlic, minced
¼  teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
3/4 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup bottled chili sauce**
2 tablespoons ketchup
1½ tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 hard-cooked large egg, pushed through a sieve or finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

1.     Make a paste with the garlic and ¼ teaspoon of the salt by crushing them with the side of a chef's knife.
2.     In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, mayonnaise, chili sauce, ketchup, onion and relish Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3.     Use now or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

*Crouton Toast – Cut French, Italian, or herbed bread into thin slices. Place on a cookie sheet; brush lightly with olive oil; turn bread and brush the other side. Sprinkle with dried herbs that compliment the other flavors in the salad + a little Kosher salt, if desired. Put cookie sheet in a preheated 350° oven and bake about 10 minutes (checking frequently) or until croutons are golden brown and crisp. Cool and store in an air-tight container until ready to use.

**To make a homemade chili sauce, combine 1 c. tomato sauce, ¼  c. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, ¼  tsp. cinnamon, dash of ground cloves & dash of allspice (this can also be located in the Substitution chart under the MIXES & MORE tab at the top of the page – scroll down the page to locate the chart).

Origins of Thousand Island Dressing
Finding the origins of food and tracking their history is another one of my interests. A great resource is The Food Timeline ( The info that follows is an edited version of what I discovered at that that website.
    Many food historians credit Sophia LaLonde, of Clayton NY, with the invention of Thousand Island dressing. Her recipe, as legend has it, was popular with vacationers summering in the Thousand Island region between New York and Canada. LaLonde's hotel, now renamed the Thousand Island Inn, stills serves the "original product."    
     Historians also credit another originator — Chef Theo Rooms of Chicago. According to the “National Culinary Progress” magazine, “It was first produced in The Blackstone of Chicago, when this hotel was first opened, and Mr. Rooms was the chef de garde manger. The magazine quotes Mr. Rooms to the effect that it was first called Blackstone Dressing. Later, Mr. Rooms, in collaboration with Albert Awater, maitre d'hotel of the Blackstone, gave to it the name Thousand Island Dressing.
     Yet another story of its creation is that it originated in the home of George C. Boldt, in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River, and that it was served under the name of Thousand Island Dressing in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, before being served in The Blackstone." 

No comments:

Post a Comment