I recently spent a week in Sun Valley, cross country or downhill skiing every day, and eating this salad for lunch every other day. Other salads were available, probably equally delicious, burgers, chili, pizza, but once I’d had this I couldn’t not order it. Out of my control. My fave.
I’ve been making it at home, trying at least, with my own versions of candied walnuts and Parmesan dressing. It’s pretty delicious, even without the brilliant blue sky, fresh powder and that exhilarating exhaustion you feel after skiing. Build it with lettuce of your choice – they used butter leaf – walnuts, blue cheese, bacon, sprouts, pears if you like. There’s plenty of room for innovation, more or less of this or that, but the Parmesan dressing is key. Make it heavy or light by substituting yogurt for some or all of the mayo. Or not. Either way, you don’t need much , a little of this dressing goes a long way. This salad is hefty enough to be meal-worthy – a good excuse to settle down with just salad for dinner.
Recipe for Blue Cheese, Bacon & Walnut Salad with Parmesan Dressing
Ingredients: 1/2 or 1/3 head of butter leaf lettuce (or any leaf lettuce) per serving/ 1 C, more or less, crisp and chopped bacon – 5 or 6 slices/ 1C candied walnuts/ 1 C sprouts/ 4 T scallions or chives/ 4 T blue cheese.
Directions: On 4 individual serving plates pour 3 – 4 T Parmesan dressing over the leaf lettuce/ Layer remaining ingredients over the dressed lettuce, sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.
Ingredients and directions for the Parmesan dressing: Combine sour cream and mayonnaise to equal 1/2 C, or substitute Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise portion/ 1/4 – 1/3 C milk (use more milk for dressing of a thinner consistency)/ 1 finely minced clove of garlic/ 1 t lemon juice/ Stir in 1/3 – 1/2 C finely grated Parmesan cheese (more or less to taste)/ A dash of Worcestershire sauce, or measure 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon pepper/ Blend or whisk all ingredients until consistency is smooth and creamy/ Dressing should be thickened, but pour easily from a spoon.