My City Park Salad Recipe – Inspired by Ralph’s on the Park Restaurant
I. LOVE. SALAD. I really do. I’m the person ordering a salad at a fancy restaurant because I want to “see what their salad is like.” I’ve always been a big fan of salad. Ask my mom – I was the kid eating salads when no one else would touch a raw vegetable. I credit my parents for always making sure we had plenty of salads and fresh veggies growing up.
One of my favorite local salads is the City Park Salad recipe from Ralph’s on the Park, a Ralph Brennan restaurant located on City Park Avenue, right at the main entrance of City Park here in New Orleans. This is their house salad and it’s quite delicious. Loaded with bacon, blue cheese and applies, it’s a real winner in my book.
You may have noticed that we occasionally do “copy cat” salads here – see our version of the Commander’s Palace salad. I do want to note that when I try to recreate a recipe, I don’t copy the recipe. In fact, I don’t even look it up ahead of time on the web. That’s too easy. After I actually made this salad and was working on this blog entry, I found the real recipe for the City Park salad. I was close in my recipe, but obviously not right on. If you want to make the actual salad, please refer to their recipe. If you want to make one inspired by the City Park salad, make mine! (I hope you make mine).
Anyway, let’s get to that delicious salad! One of the things I really like about salad is that you can indulge in ingredients like blue cheese and bacon, but they can still remain in the “not bad for you” category because the portions are so small. I believe more in moderation than abstention. There are very few things I avoid altogether. I generally strive for moderation, and it works out well for me.
Like so many good recipes, this one starts with bacon. Three slices of bacon, to be exact. They’re fried crispy and then cut into tiny tasty bits. This salad is really easy to prepare because the bacon is the only item on the list that needs cooking. Everything else is just chopping or measuring out. Easy-peasy.
Also, I really like to do this salad with halved whole romaine heads. Romaine is such a hearty and filling lettuce. I love it. Not the most flavorful lettuce but it is a great canvas for showcasing fancier ingredients. Such as what we have here – bacon, blue cheese, green onion, apple and a tangy white balsamic vinaigrette. Romaine is the perfect background green to let these ingredients shine.
In case you’re wondering what’s the best and easiest way to eat a salad like this, see below. I like to cut the lettuce across from top to bottom. Remove the core area and then mix the salad up on your plate with a fork and knife. This should toss the salad well enough to have flavor from each ingredient in every bite. Just re-toss on your plate as need to redistribute the ingredients!
Now that you’re wanting some salad (I know, right?), on to the recipe!
My City Park Salad Recipe
This City Park Salad recipe is inspired by the house salad at Ralph's On The Park here in New Orleans. It's loaded with blue cheese, bacon and apple. Sure to please any palate!
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup light olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 slices of bacon
- 1 large or 2 small heads of romaine, cut in half length-wise
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinaigrette (recipe above)
- 1/2 cup diced Gala apple
- 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- 4 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
White Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- Add all ingredients or a mixing bowl or squeeze bottle.
- Whisk or shake well to combine ingredients.
- Set aside until ready to dress the salads.
- Cook bacon over medium high heat in a skillet until crispy. Set aside to cool and drain on paper towels. Chop once cool.
- Place romaine on two plates and top each with half of the dressing.
- Finish the salads by topping each with half of the bacon, apple, blue cheese and green onion.
- Serve immediately.