Three retro salad dressings that aren’t calorie-conscious, but are deliciousby SALLYE IRVINE
I practically grew up at Charlie’s Steak House. My family ate there just about every Friday night of my childhood. I remember listening for the crackling of the glorious garlic-butter slicked steaks as they were carried upstairs on metal plates. And after supper, while the grownups visited, I always got to sit at the cash register with the late, great Miss Naomi (Charlie’s red-headed widow) and “help” her ring up the customers. Miss Dottye, her daughter, always waited on us—still does—and we literally watched her son Brian grow up before our eyes as the Friday nights blurred into years.
But, my very favorite thing about Charlie’s was, and always will be, the blue cheese dressing. It is in my humble opinion simply the best I have ever experienced. It remains my all-time favorite and is a culinary treasure from a bygone era when a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with a creamy dressing reigned supreme.
Somewhere along the way several of the staple dressings of the ‘60s and ‘70s that complemented said salad—including Green Goddess and Thousand Island dressings—fell out of favor. So, in honor of childhood memories, here are a trio of retro recipes. Enjoy!
This is an attempt to recreate my favorite salad dressing from Charlie’s Steak House.
Serious Blue Cheese Dressing
1 cup well-crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Mix together the blue cheese, vinegar, olive oil and salt until thick and luxurious. Ladle over chilled wedges of iceberg lettuce and sprinkle with a few grinds of fresh black pepper. The additions of onions and tomatoes are optional.
This Green Goddess recipe comes from The American Century Cookbook by Jean Anderson.
Green Goddess Dressing
1 cup fresh parsley sprigs, loosely packed
1/4 cup fresh chives, coarsely snipped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, loosely packed
1 large green onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 to 2 tblsp. buttermilk
Place all ingredients in food processor, pulse 8 to 10 times until smooth and creamy, scraping the bowl a couple of times until well combined. Pour into a 1-quart jar, cover tightly and refrigerate. Best if made a day before. Keeps for a week or so. Serve over chilled iceberg or other salad greens.
Thousand Island Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 dill pickle, minced
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
1 tblsp. green bell pepper, minced
1 tblsp. onion, minced
Mix all ingredients together and chill for several hours. Use to dress crisp wedges of iceberg or other green salad. •
This article appears in the August 2005 issue of St. Charles Avenue