So I’m kicking off the Recipe Carnival with a cool summer salad – one that is predominantly known to Michiganders. You see, back in
the day, there was a department store called Hudson’s. And Hudson’s was a Department Store that enticed people to shop all day long. It was located in downtown Detroit and people would come in from the outlying areas (we call them “suburbs” now), walk in from different areas of Detroit (like my mom and grandmother), or ride the city transit in. Multi-floored, many-itemed stores like Hudson’s also conveniently provided a place for people to eat – you know, to keep them in the building, refresh them, and then let them shop some more. Kind of like IKEA, only few things there had to be assembled.
So Hudson’s had a restaurant and as the tale goes, there was a chef who created a salad that was so unique it ended up bearing his name. Hence, the Maurice Salad. Now whether Chef Maurice did everything else right, culinarily-speaking, we don’t know. What we do know is that his salad quickly became The Item that everyone talked about and the most popular thing on the menu. Most chef salads (think Caesar’s salad) were ways to use up leftovers in the kitchen and still present something delicious. I don’t know if Chef Maurice created this at home or in the Hudson’s kitchen, but with a little bit of everything, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a way to use up what was hanging about in the fridge.
But… it’s a salad, right? So what’s so great about a salad? Well, if you live in a hot climate like I do, salads are the quintessential cool meals when the mercury in the thermometer tops 100°F. And although it is a salad, it’s also a filling salad – one that’s layered with an egg-and-mayo-based dressing, and has turkey, ham, and swiss cheese on it. So it’s filling.
Unfortunately for us, Hudson’s was imploded in October, 1998. The landmark that was the face of shopping in Detroit for so many years is no more. Rumour has it that there are still Macy’s stores in Michigan that present the Maurice Salad at their dining rooms, but I have yet to find anyone who’s had it at Macy’s. I remember my first Maurice Salad with my mom at Twelve Oaks in Novi, MI, as a 15 year old, and her recipe still stands as my baseline.
The Maurice Dressing
- 1 egg yolk, hard cooked, smashed in a bowl
- 2 c. mayonnaise (homemade is, of course, the best; store-bought will also do just fine)
- 3 T. sweet pickle relish (look for the kind without HFCS – it’s worth the hunt!)
- 1 t. onion granules
- 1 T. dried parsley
- 1/2 t. yellow mustard
- ice water (for thinning)
Start by combining the egg yolk with the mayo; know that it will be very thick. I used a whisk with reasonably good results that improved when I added in liquids. Add in the sweet pickle relish (more to taste, if you’d like), the onion granules, parsley, mustard, and thin it out with water. If you allow the dressing to sit in the fridge a bit, the flavours will all come together as well. My dressing is very yellow – but it is because my mayo is yellow from the farm-fresh eggs I use. Bright yolks = yellow mayo.
The Maurice Salad
- Lettuce (a whole head, depending on how many you’re feeding)
- 1/3 lb. sliced turkey
- 1/3 lb. sliced ham
- 1/4 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
Now use your choice of lettuce. The original salad used iceberg lettuce, but since that has little nutritional value, I say use whatever lettuce makes you happy and gives you the nutritional content you’d like. After you wash and tear the lettuce, dry it well and put it in a bowl. Dress the lettuce alone – make sure that all the pieces are coated well. Plate the dressed lettuce and prepare to build the salad.
I used Boar’s Head deli meats to prepare this salad – I think it really tastes better with real meat. And since I don’t often have leftover turkey AND leftover ham at the same time, buying it in the deli makes more sense to me. That being said, cut your meat in to strips – about 3/4″ wide. Repeat with the cheese (if you don’t like Swiss cheese, try Baby Swiss – it’s much milder!). Place the meat and cheese strips across the dressed lettuce and serve with a lemon wedge for those who would like to spritz lemon on everything.
It’s both a slightly-sweet and tangy salad, loaded with protein, so it holds us all night long.
Don’t forget – if you have a recipe you’d like to see featured or would like to guest-post here, leave a comment. If you’d like to guest-post, let me know; if you’d like me to make your dish and feature it on a Tasty Tuesday post, post the whole recipe.