Sometimes we get tired of eating the same things in a salad. There’s always romaine lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, croutons and maybe a tomato slice — or two if you’re lucky. I like to mix things up and try some new lettuces in the salads I create at Sabor a Pasion.
One — not so green — lettuce you may not have had is radicchio. It comes in small round heads that are bright violet-red. It has a slight bitter and peppery flavor but is more palatable than red cabbage, as many people often confuse the two.
It’s a wonderful and nutritional accompaniment to any salad and its curved and round leaves can also serve as a bowl. Fill the radicchio leaf with any mix of spring salad greens — many of which will soon be available at area farmers markets.
In this salad I created for our Valentine’s Day menu I added to the radicchio some sliced lobster tail, roasted pine nuts, strawberry slices, mixed greens and prosciutto. How’s that for different?
I also like to use a different dressing that is English in origin called Mary Rose Sauce. Who is Mary Rose? Well, legend has it that in 1545 a famous Tudor warship called the Mary Rose sank off the coast of England. Almost all of the 400 crewmen died, and for years the British tried to salvage the ship.
It was finally raised in 1982 by the British Royal Navy. A navy chef was on hand to feed the workers, and when he didn’t have enough sauce one night to accompany the fresh prawns he was serving, he concocted a mixture of whatever he had on hand – mayonnaise, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. He called it Mary Rose Sauce, after the famous ship.
It was the perfect sauce for seafood, word got back to the mainland and Mary Rose Sauce was a hit. The rest is culinary history.
For me, I dressed the salad with a drizzle of vinaigrette and a few spoonfuls of Mary Rose Sauce. It is great with the lobster, for special occasions, but also try it with shrimp.
MARY ROSE SAUCE
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1/4 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Mix all ingredients together and chill for 1 hour. Serve with seafood as a dipping sauce.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.