So you might know that I work at Terlato Wines. And a few weeks ago, we had some guests in for a tasting. They happened to be from Canlis restaurant in Seattle, a legendary family-owned restaurant renowned for, among other things, its salad. I’ve read about this salad in various magazines and newspapers – but had never made it. So what’s a hungry and curious girl to do but make it? And I just happened to have a bottle of Protea Chenin Blanc, so I had a glass of that with the salad. And then: my head started spinning with delight! I could not believe how the wine made the salad taste even better and the salad made the wine taste even better – exactly what good wine and good food are meant to do! When you hit that perfect combination, it’s bliss!
The wine is a South African Chenin Blanc – in the most gorgeous bottle ever (which, after you’ve enjoyed every last sip, makes an ideal bottle for olive oil, vinegar or other stuff – you could even serve water out of it.) It’s lush with pear, citrus and honeysuckle notes and medium-bodied. And the salad – loaded with crisp lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, scallions and chopped fresh mint and dressed with a tangy, lemony dressing – is the perfect complement! Oh, I could have this every night for dinner and be a happy girl! Want to know how to make the salad? I’ll show you:
Canlis Salad (adapted from The New York Times)
Ingredients (serves two, or one if you’re really hungry – and the dressing recipe makes a lot, but the acidity in it means it’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks – for more salad!)
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
1/2 C. cubed fresh Italian bread
1/4 C. scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 C. fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 C. cucumber, (not in the original recipe – my addition; it adds crunch and I like cucumbers)
A bunch of grated Romano cheese (I buy the containers of finely grated Romano at Trader Joe’s)
For the Dressing:
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepp, to taste
What You Do
1. Fry your bacon and remove it to a plate. Save one Tbl of fat. Or, if you’re like me, use bacon you already baked in the oven on the weekend and tap your reserves of bacon fat, stored in a ramekin in the fridge.
2. Make the croutons — heat a blob (like, a Tbl or two) of bacon fat in a cast iron pan over medium heat (or any skillet, really) and add the bread cubes to coat. Over low heat, toast those cute little nubbins of bread in the yummy bacon fat til they’re golden – then remove them to a plate or cutting board or whatever.
3. Make the dressing. First, mix your lemon juice and olive oil in a jar – add a bunch of salt and pepper until it tastes good. And now for the cool part: take your room temp egg and put it WHOLE (do not crack the egg) into a Pyrex measuring cup or coffee cup. Pour boiling water over it and let it sit for 1 minute. Pour the boiling water off and crack that egg into your lemon juice-olive oil mixture. Shake, shake, shake – WITH A LID ON OBVIOUSLY – and then taste it. The egg helps emulsify the whole mess into a creamy-ish, slightly rich dressing. God, it’s good. Super lemony. MmmmmmMM!!
4. Okay, time to assemble your salad. Into a salad bowl, put the chopped lettuce, tomatoes, scallions, mint, oregano, croutons and pour some dressing in. Toss to coat and then shower on the Romano cheese (as much as you want; I’m pretty generous – maybe an 1/8 of cup or a little more).
5. Pour the Protea and enjoy! Cheers!