Salads tend to be a casual affair. A little bit of whatever is in the fridge, all topped with a simple vinaigrette. But searching for a way to use some big beets, I came across this old-school recipe for Thousand Island dressing. I can't really remember the last time I put a creamy dressing on a salad, and it had way more ingredients than my normal salads do. I actually had to go shopping for some of them.
Which led me to the biggest issue with this dressing: if the recipe only needs one tablespoon of cooked beets, what do you do with the other 90-percent of the beet left over? Same thing goes with, well, nearly every other ingredient including the onion, dill pickle, hard-cooked egg, pimientos, and parsley. The answer? Leftovers work extremely well in the actual salad. Iceberg lettuce is apparently the traditional base, but I had some baby spinach, which was a fine substitute, if not quite the real thing.
I have to say I was surprised. I've only tasted bottled versions of this dressing, and they usually just taste like a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup. But this has real depth, thanks in part to all the little tart chunks of chopped vegetables. Not the easiest salad to whip up, but one of the best I've had in a long time.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.
- Yield:4 to 6
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon chili sauce or ketchup
- 1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dill pickle, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cooked beets, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon hard-cooked egg, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon pimientos, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a large bowl and gently fold together with plastic spatula until the dressing turns a light orange or pink. Then season with salt and pepper to taste.