Friday, March 20, 2015

Citizen Public House Chopped Salad

Last Year's Post:  Filipino Chicken Adobo
Two Years Ago:   Egg Gratin

Citizen Public House is a very popular Phoenix restaurant, and this is by far the most popular dish on their menu.  It's so popular that when they opened a second restaurant concept they had to offer it at there as well.  The salad even has its own Facebook page: .  And the owner has been interviewed on television while making the salad.  So, that was enough for me!  We made it for a recent girls' getaway weekend and all four of us loved it, even Michelle who claims she's never had salmon before. (I mean, really.)

I was slightly skeptical because the combination of ingredients is pretty unusual, especially the "trail mix" of aged Asiago cheese, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and currants.  Not to mention the freeze-dried corn, which turns out to be very light and crunchy sort of like popcorn. You'll find it in bags in the produce section of upscale grocery stores, and I think Whole Foods carries it as well.  Don't be tempted to leave it out because it's important to the overall mix of flavors and textures.

Speaking of the overall mix, there's a lot going on in this salad but magically it somehow all comes together really well.  Creamy, crunchy, sweet, smoky, bitter, herbal - it's got it all.  If you're not a fan of salmon, try it anyway - it doesn't overwhelm the other ingredients and it does add a nice smokiness.  The chef who created it said he doesn't even usually like salmon but does like it in this salad.  Use hot-smoked salmon, not cold-smoked.  What's the difference?  Hot-smoked salmon is darker on top from the smoke, and is flaky.  Cold-smoked salmon is light in color, soft in texture, and typically sliced into very thin slices much like lox.

Although there are a number of ingredients, you only have to cook the couscous and make the dressing in the blender.  After that, it's just shredding cheese, chopping veggies, and assembling everything.  It's actually very easy.

My suggestion is to cook the couscous in advance so it has time to cool.  It keeps well in the refrigerator covered.  I don't suggest making the dressing in advance because I discovered it thickens when stored in the refrigerator.  If you really need to make it an hour or so early, be sure to stir it well after removing it from the refrigerator and thin if necessary with a little water or additional lemon juice.

This is definitely a company-worthy salad both in terms of presentation and taste, but easy enough to make for your family.  And healthy!

Note:  I slightly adapted the original recipe because it didn't state the number of servings, and to make it a little more clear.  Otherwise it's identical.  Because it's a restaurant recipe, the servings are quite generous.  If desired, you could cut down the amounts of each ingredient a little to make smaller servings.

Citizen Public House Chopped Salad
Serves 4 generously

1 ½ cups mayo
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 ½ Tbsp. Pecorino Romano cheese
Juice of 1 large lemon
18 basil leaves
1 ½ tsp. minced garlic

Trail mix:
1 cup black currants
1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
¾ cup ground aged Asiago cheese

Tomato mix:
2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
 2 tablespoons olive oil
Four large basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups smoked salmon, flaked
2 ½ cups freeze-dried corn
2 ½ cups chopped arugula
2 ½ cups cooked Israeli (pearl) couscous

 Combine all dressing ingredients thoroughly in blender and set aside. Toss all trail mix ingredients together in one bowl, and all tomato mix ingredients in a second bowl.  To assemble the salads, divide ingredients evenly between four plates and assemble in strips in the following order: salmon, couscous, arugula, trail mix, corn, and tomato mix.  Serve with dressing on the side or drizzled over the top.

No comments: