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Rotating seasonal salads keeps a menu fresh. With the right house dressing, they can establish a restaurant’s reputation. Crisp romaine hearts are delicious by themselves. They become timeless classics with a splash of Caesar. Salads always serve up best when they’re well-dressed.
Even the most basic restaurant salad dressing recipe gives your commercial kitchen appetizing room to improvise. You can rework venerable vinaigrettes and coax new notes from creamy dressings. For innovative ideas, look no further than some of the industry’s most impressive names.
How to Dress a Salad Like a Top Chef: 10 Inspiring Recipes
When you dress salad greens with culinary style, you elevate their naturally good tastes with flavors that keep customers coming back. We offer these 10 recipes from top chefs for your restaurant kitchen’s inspiration.
1. Wolfgang Puck – Spago House Dressing
We start with this recipe because it’s an elegant example of how a special salad dressing can become a restaurant’s signature. Puck’s house vinaigrette wows table-side with walnut oil and impresses in the walk-in with a three- to four-week shelf life.
2. Gordon Ramsay – Big Caesar Dressing
It’s easy to forget that his reputation shines off the TV screen with seven Michelin stars. It’s easy to understand Ramsay’s consistent award-winning ways when you finish a classic salad with his Big Caesar dressing.
3. Mario Batali – Horseradish Vinaigrette
Apple cider vinegar and Dijon complement the kick of horseradish in Batali’s vinaigrette for roasted beets. He serves the dish at room temperature, so we see palate-pleasing potential in this dressing for all kinds of salads.
4. Rick Bayless – Lime-Cilantro Dressing
Bayless established his expertise in Mexican cuisine with his first cookbook in 1987 and continues to impress at his Frontera Grill restaurants in Chicago and Atlanta. His lively lime-cilantro dressing freshens up salads with authentic touches of garlic and chile serrano.
5. Bobby Flay – Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette
You have to love a low-fat version of creamy Caesar that builds on a roasted garlic puree with Dijon, honey and Worcestershire. Drizzled over hearts of romaine lettuce, this dressing is a reminder that Flay’s culinary talents are more than just TV entertainment.
6. Jamie Oliver – Jam Jar Dressings
His cooking empire stretches around the world with more than 30 restaurants, but the original Naked Chef still keeps it casually delicious. We like the table-side presentation possibilities of his Jam Jar dressings, and we appreciate their enticing variety including balsamic, lemon, yogurt and French.
7. Ina Garten – Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette
The Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa brings out the best in basic salads with a creamy blend of Champagne vinegar, garlic and Dijon. Garten’s perfectly balanced dressing is a tasty testament to the culinary concept that less really can be more. Sometimes, a simple vinaigrette is simply the best.
8. Wolfgang Puck – Greek Salad Dressing
Puck earns a second entry on our list with his fresh twist on a salad dressing favorite. He hits all the herbal high notes with thyme, parsley and dill and blends them together with yogurt, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. This recipe also makes a great marinade.
9. Rachael Ray – Creamy Lemon, Pepper and Parmesan Dressing
In less than half the time it takes to make a 30-minute meal, your restaurant kitchen can prep this delish dressing that pairs especially well with crisp hearts of romaine. Yes, EVOO is the base for Rachel’s smooth blend of mayo, lemon and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
10. Thomas Keller – House Vinaigrette
Finishing our list with another signature dressing just seems right. This is the house dressing that identifies Keller’s Bouchon restaurants. He reduces the essential vinaigrette to three basic ingredients leaving plenty of room for innovation to develop your own crowd-winning recipe.
Quality That Inspires
An inspired restaurant salad dressing does more than impress your customers. A memorable house dressing serves as a delicious marketing strategy that’s simple to prep and easy to store. It doesn’t put a dent in food costs, and it can establish your restaurant’s place on a crowded culinary landscape.
Just like you, we really appreciate a great salad dressing. As one of California’s premier lettuce growers and shippers, we enjoy sharing ideas that help you bring out the best in our produce. You can count on Hitchcock Farms to supply your food service operations with the high levels of quality that always inspire.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.