Sensation Salad is all about simple. A tart creamy lemon garlic vinaigrette over shredded Romaine lettuce topped with fresh grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese. That and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc will get you ready for the main course whatever it is. And it’s flexible, letting you add that extra bit of leftover iceberg or bibb lettuce if you want to so let’s get started:
Originating at Bob & Jake’s in Baton Rouge, various iterations have been on offer at The City Club, The Place, and other restaurants since the 60s. I was reminded of it when at a local Greek restaurant I ordered the Maroulosalata (Lettuce Salad in Greek) and thought, ‘Hey, this is Sensation Salad!’. And sure enough, except for the dill and cucumber it mostly was.
Making the Dressing
This is the defining ingredient because it’s the one you make yourself. All the versions have garlic, lemon, and olive oil. Some, however, add creaminess through mayonnaise others thru actual cream. I tried a few different dressings but wanted to see how simple I could make it and ended up with the following: lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, garlic, oil, heavy cream, and a little sugar to cut the tartness of the lemon. That’s it. Not even vinegar. And it’s imperative to do it in a small food processor or blender to make sure that the garlic is puréed. Best of all you can make it the day ahead and stash it in the fridge.
- For the Dressing:
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice plus the zest of the lemon
- 1 cup light olive oil
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- For the Salad:
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed, spun dry and cut into julienned strips (about 2 bunches)
- handful Italian parsley, rinsed, spun dry and chopped (about ⅔ cup)
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- For the dressing:
- Add the garlic, salt, sugar, and lemon juice to a small food processor Pulse for a couple of seconds to dissolve the salt & sugar then add the olive oil and cream.
- For the salad:
- Slice lettuce and parsley into thin julienne strips then toss with dressing to taste.
- When ready to serve, grate cheese over it along with some fresh cracked black pepper.