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by on August 29th, 2009

Emerald City Salad

What does the Emerald City, May, and Wicked have to do with a Salad?

My Emerald City Salad aka Crunchy Romaine Toss Salad!


This past weekend we went to see our kids in Austin and my daughter, Alexis and I went to see Wicked. She gave me the theatre tickets as a mother’s day gift. It just so happens, her birth month is in May (Emerald birthstone), the Crunchy Romaine Toss Salad is GREEN and sitting in the theatre in Austin this weekend watching Wicked with all the green lights, green costumes and green face on stage, I kept thinking what kind of blog could I do that would be about something green.

Well, Crunchy Romaine Toss Salad (aka Emerald City Salad) is a salad that I have catered for, I think, around 17 years. It is from a Jackson Mississippi Cookbook, “Come On In” and it has been one of my most requested salad recipes since I have been catering.

Every time I made this salad over the last 17 years, everyone always wanted the recipe and I never would share it, shame on me. I was doing a lot of catering at the time and just didn’t want everyone knowing how I made it, even though it wasn’t my original recipe.

Funny thing though, one day I catered this salad for a lady’s luncheon and the hostess really liked it and said she would like to have the recipe. I didn’t share but while cleaning up after the luncheon, I was looking at her cookbooks and there sat on her counter, in her collection of cookbooks, the exact cookbook where I got the recipe.

So, I have decided, even though this isn’t my original recipe, that I would share what so many have enjoyed me making over many years of catering.

The noodles and walnuts in this salad can be toasted in the oven, cooled and then put in the freezer until ready to make it. I use to make about 10 times the recipe of the nut/noodle mix and freeze in small bags so it was ready to go when I had to do this for a luncheon.

If I had a new company I was catering for, I always did this salad for the first job, because I knew I would get called back for other jobs after they tasted it… and I always did! Some companies never would try another salad because they all liked this one so well.

Over the years I sometimes add fresh sliced strawberries and have even added grilled chicken if I was doing it for my own dinner. It’s a great little salad and I hope you will try it. I’m trying kiwi this time since it is “green”.

Oh, and I forgot to say, WICKED was wonderful. To share dinner out with my daughter at a local restaurant, Eastsideshowroom and then to see Wicked was a wonderful evening. We have had so many wonderful nights in Austin and this was another one to remember.


Crunchy Romaine Toss Salad

1 – 6 oz. pkg. chopped uncooked, ramen noodles broken up (discard flavor packet)
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 bunch broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, washed, cut in small pieces
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced (the original recipe called for 4 green onions)
optional fruit — strawberries or kiwis or whatever you want to try.
1 c. Sweet and Sour Dressing (see recipe below)

Toss the ramen noodles and walnuts with the melted butter and bake in 250° oven until browned nicely, about 20-30 minutes (or you can turn up oven, but watch closely). The original recipe said to do them in a skillet. I don’t know about you, but every time I have to watch something closely, I forget about it and burn whatever I’m suppose to be keeping an eye on.

Combine the broccoli, romaine and the red onions. Right before serving, pour some of the Sweet and Sour Dressing over and toss to coat. Add the walnut/noodle mixture and toss some more. (I usually make extra nut/noodle mixture and sprinkle some on top of salad.) If you want to add strawberries, kiwi or any other fruit, add it now.

You won’t need the whole recipe for dressing so save it for another time. Also, I only mix up what I think we might need. That way you don’t have soggy salad left over and you can always mix up another bowl.

Sweet and Sour Dressing

1 c. vegetable oil
3/4-1 c. sugar
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the sugar and red wine vinegar until sugar has dissolved. Slowly pour in the oil and whisk until it has emulsified. Add in the soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator.

Hope everyone will try this and enjoy it as much as I have in serving it to catering friends.

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