Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Hearts Salad

December 9th, 2009 · 21 Comments

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.

Hearts Salad

Hearts Salad imageThe 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

Full ¼-yield Measure Ingredient
8 2 Oz. Olive Oil
7 1 ¾ Cups Salad oil (Sterling)
12 3 Oz. Red wine vinegar
28 7 Ounces Pimentos, diced
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
Procedure Steps
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.

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Tags: Appetizers · Columns Hotel · Recipes · Salads

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ValleyWriter // Dec 9, 2009 at 9:55 am

    This looks just lovely! Perfect for a holiday dinner party!

  • 2 Trix // Dec 9, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I definitely want to make this salad. Ive said it before – thank you so much for presenting this information!! I so wish I could have eaten at the Columns in the 80s.

  • 3 ninni // Dec 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

    this look like old croatian recipe,very similar way of preparing and of course i like it!!

  • 4 Ryan Boudreaux // Dec 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I don’t have a photograph of the hearts salad with the dressing, but you can imagine with the chopped pimentos, chopped eggs and fresh herbs that it becomes quite colorful and indeed a perfect holiday dinner menu item.

    So sad that the Columns Hotel today is lacking in dedication that it had in the 80s.

    You never know…Croatia may have played a part in some way….the threads of history weave a quilt of love and influence throughout the world.

  • 5 Cheah // Dec 9, 2009 at 11:25 am

    This salad looks delicious, light and healthy. Thanks for sharing.

  • 6 Vegetable Matter // Dec 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I love composed salads — it’s like having an edible still life. Yours looks wonderful!

  • 7 The Foodie Forkful // Dec 9, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Looks lovely!

  • 8 Drick // Dec 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    again a great post – love the history with it … thanks for the dressing recipe and I am waiting for the smoked seafood salad with zeal…

  • 9 Alta // Dec 9, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Love the history behind this dish! Looks great.

  • 10 Jessie // Dec 9, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    this salad sounds great, I love pimento peppers too!

  • 11 Kinzie // Dec 9, 2009 at 3:02 pm


  • 12 linda @saltyseattle // Dec 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    this salad is a brilliant idea- i’m racking my brain to come up with other “hearts” that might work in it as well. i love that you are documenting culinary history as well, i think it’s so interesting to see how tastes and item popularity changes.

  • 13 Tina Marie // Dec 9, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    What a pretty presentation…I’d love a plate of such a beautiful and healthy salad!

  • 14 pegasuslegend // Dec 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm


  • 15 Olive // Dec 9, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    the salad looks so deliciously good ..i love the dressing and the heart truffle is so cute 🙂

  • 16 Kristi Rimkus // Dec 10, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Very pretty salad!

  • 17 foodlovee // Dec 10, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Looks like my kind of salad.Have to have it

  • 18 penny aka jeroxie // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:35 am

    What a beautiful salad.

  • 19 Tania // Dec 11, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Very beautiful salad!

  • 20 Mr. P // Dec 12, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    When I saw the title, I thought you meant actual hearts!

    Thank God I was wrong. Looks good Chef!

  • 21 Lori Lynn // Mar 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Ryan – I love this concept. Let’s not let these great salads of the past die…