It’s not often that I want a recipe for salad dressing after eating out at a restaurant, but after my last trip home to the central coast of California, it happened. I was having lunch at the iconic Big Sur landmark Nepenthe with two of my oldest and dearest friends, enjoying the amazing view and basking in the warm sun (which is reason enough to pay a visit, honestly), and ordered one of their famous Ambrosia burgers with a salad. And for the dressing? Jaime, a seasoned Nepenthe pro, leaned over, and insistently whispered “Get the blue cheese”. This was no normal side salad with bottled fake dressing, no — what I got was the best blue cheese dressing I have ever tasted. The vinaigrette was balanced between tangy and sweet, and FILLED with chunks of greenish-blue veined, sheepy roquefort cheese. Even better, was after seeing the delight I took in said dressing, Jaime leaned over and whispered five of my favorite words: “I’ll send you the recipe”. And she did. And I made it — only thing missing was the view. So, from the pages of the beautiful My Nepenthe cookbook by Chef Romney Steele, I bring you a taste of manna, in salad form! — Megan B.
above: (top) my version of Nepenthe’s Salad, (below) the restaurant version, with burger, beer, and peek-a-boo of the view.
click for the recipe and the rest of the amazing view, after the jump!
serves 6-8 people
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried mustard
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
5 to 6 ounces Roquefort cheese (Gorgonzola would be great, too)
2/3 C red wine vinegar (I used 1/3 C red wine, 1/3 C white balsamic)
1/2 C olive oil
1 C canola or safflower oil (I used grapeseed oil)
put all ingredients in jar with tight fitting lid and shake vigorously.
2 heads romaine lettuce
1 head green leaf lettuce
4 to 6 cherry tomatoes (per plate)
Freshly ground black pepper
TEAR rather than chop the lettuce, and half the cherry tomatoes. Toss the lettuce with the dressing in a large bowl. Mound onto plates and top with cherry tomatoes and freshly ground pepper. I also added some cooked bacon, chicken breast and red onion to this salad and it was a meal in itself!