Antipasto with Original Brown Derby Salad Dressing

Recipes in this PostAntipasto with Original Brown Derby Salad Dressing

Sometimes it’s a terrible thing to get old enough to remember wonderful restaurants that have closed down, notably The Brown Derby in Hollywood and Little Joe’s in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Brown Derby

When I was a little girl, I was lucky enough to have my mother take me to the Brown Derby in Hollywood. My mother had Cobb Salad, I had curried chicken. We each had a taste of the other’s dinner, and I loved the presentation and flavor of the Cobb Salad. Later in life, I was disappointed to find Cobb Salad made with huge ingredient pieces, it’s a chopped salad, for goodness sake, so all the pieces should be small.

There is a plethora of recipes for the original Brown Derby salad dressing. Even today, just looking so see what others put in their dressing, I came across at least 3 that were completely different. You may ask yourself, how do I know that The Good Plate’s recipe is the right one? Well, this recipe comes directly from The Brown Derby Cookbook published in 1949. The recipe for the famous Grapefruit Cake is also in that book, although my recipe differs in the icing and decoration.

Little Joe’s

When I was in college dating, my boyfriend and I got lost in Downtown Los Angeles. We were hungry, and stopped for lunch at Little Joe’s near China Town. I had an antipasto salad, and it was wonderful. I went back many times to Little Joe’s and especially enjoyed that salad, and their Spaghetti Bolognese. I will be writing about that sauce at another time, when it gets cool enough.

Composed Salad

I love composed salads. They look wonderful, and are large enough to be a stand alone meal. I bought some Mortadella, provolone and salami to make sandwiches for our picnic, and have left overs. I also have some nice lettuce, a giant tomato, avocado, peperoncini, Kalamata olives, and Persian cucumbers. So I am going to take from the two restaurants I loved the most and make something new. Enjoy!

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Suddenly Composed Salad

Suddenly Composed!Picture-2

Every year in Southern California, specifically in Los Angeles, we have something called June Gloom. It happens right after Memorial Day, which is usually hot, when the marine layer sits over the Pacific Ocean coming inland and keeps everything cool and gloomy. My mother used to call this kind of weather “sweater weather” because it wasn’t cold enough for a coat, but it would get warm enough after the clouds burned off to go in a sun dress, and wear a cardigan in between.

It is also the time when fruits and vegetables are springing up very fresh and flavorful in your local market. Just a few days ago, I was lucky enough to get green tomatoes to make Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil Garlic Mayonnaise.

Today my corner store had ripe, red, tomatoes that cried out to be brought home for salad. There were also perky Persian cucumbers waiting to go into my basket, and a perfectly ripe avocado that felt great nestled in my hand. Spirited spring onions were also placed in my basket as well as three hearts of Romaine lettuce.

I also had some things at home to put in the salad. I had a little pastrami and swiss cheese left over from making Chicken Rubens with Saffron Rice. I had marinated sun dried tomatoes, black olive slices, real bacon bits, peperoncini and blue cheese. I decided that Girard’s Champagne Dressing would be perfect.

The real trick to making a composed salad is not so much what you put in it, as how it is presented. Each ingredient should be in its own little area, and artfully arranged. In my salad, for example, I fanned out both the tomato and avocado halves, and made a little flower out of sliced Persian cucumber. The black olive slices, crumbled bacon and blue cheese were in the middle, with one whole sun dried tomato propped up with a peperoncino sitting in their place of honor on the very top of the salad.

You are free to add your own ingredients, chick peas would be a good addition, so would chopped eggs, marinated onions, Kalamata olives, Chinese snow peas, grilled chicken, the sky’s the limit!

So enjoy these wonderful days of summer and remember that salads don’t have to be dull or ordinary.