Loved John Besh’s Salad Luke.
We tried our best to eat as much as we could on a recent trip to New Orleans; and as usual I found several things I wanted to try and make once returning home.
My sister and I both were in speech classes until about 4th grade because we couldn’t pronounce our “r’s” correctly and I’m always flubbing up on pronouncing certain words. One night in New Orleans we had dinner at Luke, one of John Besh’s restaurants. So, all day I’m thinking “now how is this pronounced”. Is it like Lu-kay, or lu-kee or luck. When we were seated that night, the first thing I ask the waiter is how to pronounce Luke and he said “Luke, I don’t know what the two dots are doing over the “U” “. At least I won’t be pronouncing this one wrong again.
Their Salad Luke was such a simple salad but the appeal to me was all in the presentation. The plate had a little puddle of buttermilk dressing, topped with some celery root, golden beets and shreds of carrots, then one leaf of butter lettuce sitting on the plate like a little bowl, then drizzle of dressing then 3 or 4 more stacks of the leaves/dressing, making the stack about 4-5” tall but only about 4 – 5 leaves of lettuce. Very pretty and impressed me enough I couldn’t wait to make my own pickled yellow beets and my own buttermilk dressing.
I knew I was going to have to make my yellow beets since I have never seen them in jars already pickled. Small golden beets were hard to find; Whole Foods had some the size of softballs so I had to cut them in fourths to roast. I thought roasting the beets would give them better flavor than boiling them like some recipes did and I wouldn’t be losing any of the color in the boiling process.
Our menu that night was Pate of Louisiana Rabbit & Chicken Livers with country bread croutons, the Salad Luke, GA (hub) had cup of crawfish bisque, Black Drum with Meuniere Sauce, (he had Crawfish Étouffée) and we actually split Lemon Cheesecake with lemon sorbet. We could have stopped with the pate which was a huge jar of the creamiest pate I have ever eaten, but we pressed on and was determined to finish the meal — we did and enjoyed every bite.
Use either a butter, bibb, or Boston leaf lettuce; they are all pretty much the same green. If you don’t want to make your own buttermilk dressing then just buy a good brand, but don’t use red beets; they will bleed all over the buttermilk dressing. I substituted thinly sliced celery for the celery root because I’m not sure if most of you could find celery root or would want to worry with what to do with the rest of it after buying the thing.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: For a nice little sandwich/snack try French Breakfast Radishes on a buttered piece of baguette with a little sea salt.
Whisk until blended. I added a little water to John Besh’s original recipe because I didn’t want it really thick and needed to be a little thinner in order to drizzle over the lettuce leaves.
Start your plate with a small puddle of buttermilk dressing on the plate, top with a few of the yellow beets and some shredded carrots.
Top with some of the thinly sliced celery (or use celery root as Besh recipe called for).
Top with one of the lettuce leaves.
Top with another leaf of lettuce, drizzle some dressing and add a few more beets.
Keep stacking until you have about 4-5 leaves. Use as much lettuce as you want. Add a few carrot pieces to the top. Enjoy.
- Bibb, Boston or Butter lettuce leaves
- Roasted Pickled Golden Yellow Beets (see recipe in index)
- thinly sliced celery root (I used celery)
- julienned carrots
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. celery salt
- 2 dashes Tabasco
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp. water, if needed for thinning
- For the dressing whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, Tabasco, salt, and pepper in a bowl until combined. Thin with water if needed.
- To serve the salad, put a small amount of the buttermilk dressing on the plate. Top with a few slices of golden beets, sprinkle with some of the thinly sliced celery and the julienned carrot. Top with one lettuce leaf (larger one), drizzle a little dressing, them top with another leaf/dressing, until you have layered 4-5 leaves. Make it as high as you want.
- See my Roasted Golden Pickled Beet Recipe in the "sides/salad" section.