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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Make light salad for dinner

Now that we have made our homemade salad dressings, we need some good salads to put them on. It’s summertime and everyone is looking for a little lighter eating. A large dinner salad hits the spot. I reached into my past and pulled a couple out to share.

Cannon’s restaurant has a half dozen or so entree salads that can find it’s way to your dinner table. Today I want to share a couple of them with you: Cajun Popcorn salad and the Uptown Salad. They were both very popular. Topped with homemade salad dressings, these salads are sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Grab your ingredients and Let’s head to the kitchen!

A popular item on a restaurant menu will account for 10 percent of the sales. This dish is usually found in the entree section of the menu. Imagine how popular a salad needs to be to account for almost 20 percent of sales. That’s what the Cajun Popcorn Salad did on Cannon’s menu. Cannon’s was the first to put Popcorn Shrimp on a salad. The shrimp serve two functions here. First is obviously the added protein that makes this a meal. The second is the crunchiness of the shrimp to replace the croutons in the salad.

Cajun Popcorn Salad

32 ounces small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cajun Popcorn Batter (see below)

2 heads iceberg lettuce, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

1 head romaine lettuce, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup carrot, shredded

1/4 cup red cabbage, shredded

12 ounces honey mustard dressing

Preheat deep fryer to 360 ℉.

Mix together lettuce, carrot and cabbage. Put the lettuce mixture into chilled bowls. Top each salad with 3 ounces of Honey Mustard dressing. Dip shrimp into popcorn batter and shake off the excess. Drop into fryer, spreading them out to avoid clumping. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then drain on paper towels. Top each salad with equal amounts of the popcorn shrimp.

This recipe was developed by Chef Paul Prudhomme. His original use was for crawfish tails. At Cannon’s we chose to use it for shrimp. It was a popular appetizer as well as salad.

Cajun Popcorn Batter

1/2 cup corn flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated onion

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon basil

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 eggs, well beaten

1 1/4 cups milk

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add eggs and milk. Mix until a wet batter is formed.

This was Cannon’s idea of a Chef salad. It was a hit at lunchtime. This salad was so big, you barely had room for dinner after eating this for lunch.

Uptown Salad

2 heads iceberg lettuce, cleaned and chopped

1 head romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped

Mix lettuce together and keep cold.

1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Mix the cheeses together and keep cold.

8 ounces ham, cubed

8 ounces smoked turkey, cubed

2 cups croutons

1 cup boiled eggs, chopped

Green onions, chopped

To build your salads, place lettuce in 4 separate chilled bowls. Top with your favorite dressing. Then, place in order: croutons, cheese mixture, egg, ham, and turkey. Garnish with green onions and serve.

A dish like Shrimp Remoulade often is used as a combination appetizer and salad. These salads accomplish the same for your salad course and entrée. They are fulfilling as well as a healthy option. Try one of these outstanding salads with a homemade dressing. They are a great way to add freshness to your diet.

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