For many, many years, when I lived in Boston, I spent my Thanksgiving holidays with my extended family in Seattle. It was an easier trip to make (half the time it took to fly from Boston to Hawaii) especially when I knew I would be in Hawaii a few weeks later.
Among the many favorite dishes at our Thanksgiving dinner was this salad from Canlis Restaurant. "A salad?" you ask. Well, a recent article on Eater.com made the case for salad at Thanksgiving. The intent was not to make the meal more healthy, but rather, "A bite of crunchy greens offers a bright reset, letting me go back for seconds."
While I never had a meal at Canlis, this salad will forever be associated with warm memories of family around a crowded table, sharing stories, and laughing. Who knew it was also helping me eat more at the Thanksgiving table.
What makes this salad special?
On the surface, this seems to be a fairly basic romaine salad with some bacon bits, croutons, and a vinaigrette. But this basic salad is boosted to the next level with abundant amounts of fresh mint, fresh oregano, and pecorino romano cheese.
The creamy, tangy dressing is the other important component of this salad. It contains two key ingredients. First, it is necessary to use fresh lemon juice (don't use the bottled stuff). Second, is the egg. Although the original recipe uses a raw egg, I am wary of the possibility of salmonella and I use a coddled egg instead.
Are there any shortcuts?
For a special occasion, there is little I would change about this recipe. It is worth taking a few extra moments to make everything from scratch. But for an everyday version (please forgive me) you could buy a pre-washed romaine salad mix and pre-made croutons. And in a real time crunch, you could buy off-the-shelf bacon bits - but at least buy the real bacon bits, not the imitation stuff. You must still make your own dressing, use fresh herbs, and pecorino romano cheese.