Popular Salads and Cold Appetizers at the Columns Hotel
One of the popular menu items at the Columns Hotel in the mid-1980 period were the salads and this is where I started out working the pantry the first six to eight months during my final year of apprenticeship. Featured in this entry include a salad off the regular menu, the Hearts Salad. Other popular salad and cold appetizer menu items from the Columns Hotel include the Smoked Seafood Salad, an appetizer from the same specials menu Spanish mackerel cold appetizer and the Amuse Bouche. Every table would get a “marble” or a small taste of buffalo terrine with delicate garnitures. This was the heart and soul of the pantry station at the Columns Hotel from around 1984 until 1987 or so, during the Chris Canan and Brian Coates era, the same time that the Michael’s Management group ran the operations. I will share these other cold food items in future posts.
One of the more challenging parts of documenting all of the restaurant preparations and recipes are meeting today’s demand for digital presentations on the Internet. Not many opportunities to photograph were available during cooking shifts; in fact, most of the photographs while working in kitchens complimented the apprenticeship logbook with additional information, or supporting material. Carrying around the Olympus OM10, 35mm camera with no flash was quite the challenge then, and with meeting deadlines and prepping for service, stopping to take a few snaps here or there were far and few between.
The challenge in the future will be to recreate the non-photographed preparations, menu items, and recipes from yester-year and take new digital images of them today! I share with you one such preparation that did get a lucky snap of the camera, the Hearts Salad.
The Hearts Salad consisted of what is known as an arranged salad, in that all the components are placed in a particular order of section of the plate. In the case of Hearts Salad, the plate is lined with red radicchio leaves, and then the remaining ingredients are hearts of romaine and Bibb lettuce, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, celery hearts, and a small truffle garnish in the shape of a heart. This was our number one selling salad; at least during the two years of working at the Columns Hotel, I can remember preparing at least twenty or thirty of these salads on a typical evening dinner service. This salad was typically served with our vinaigrette dressing, and the recipe for that follows.
Columns Hotel Vinaigrette Dressing
|7||1 ¾||Cups||Salad oil (Sterling)|
|12||3||Oz.||Red wine vinegar|
|3||1||Med.||Red onions, small diced|
|2||½||Tbsp.||Oregano, fresh chopped|
|2||½||Tbsp.||Basil, fresh chopped|
|6||1 ½||Tbsp||Garlic, fresh minced|
|8||2||Large||Hard boiled eggs, chopped|
|To taste||Salt and white pepper|
|1.||Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a large mixer with the whip attachment.|
|2.||Store in air tight container|
As you can see, the original dressing yields a large quantity, or about 1 gallon of the product. Cutting this recipe to ¼ would yield about 1 quart of dressing, this is why I have listed the ¼ yield in the ingredient list.
This dressing prepared every other day or so often in the pantry station of the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, LA. In addition, this was one of the dressings offered on salads as well on buffet service. The Smoked seafood salad was made with this dressing and this will be featured on the next installment of Popular Salads and Cold Appetizers at the Columns Hotel.