While living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we were introduced to THE BEST FOOD ever! Cajun, Creole and a mix of Italian filled many restaurant menus. Sensation Salad was a menu highlight of many eateries around town. One bite and we were hooked! Sensation Salad is so fresh and full of flavor. Our taste buds came to life with the bright taste of this easy salad. The ingredients are simple, but combined, the flavors are magnified! Sensation Salad quickly became my basic trademark salad. Sometimes I’d add a fresh herb, or some extra ingredients, but honestly, the simple basic flavors of garlic, lemon and Romano or Parmesan cheese tossed with chilled lettuce make the recipe shine.
Dressing is the Secret!
The secret is the dressing. Has-to-be-fresh lemon juice, fresh garlic and vegetable oil combine with salt and has-to-be-chilled lettuce make the sensational taste! This is a salad for the ages. It’ll never go out of style!
A Baton Rouge Favorite
I figured Sensation Salad was popular all over the U.S., but I was wrong. I have discovered that it originated at Bob & Jake’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge long before I moved there. Bob and Jakes closed, then Jake Staples started another restaurant–The Place, which has also closed, but the Sensation Salad lived on! It became part of Baton Rouge’s culinary makeup. Some credit the Italian influence in South Louisiana for this recipe. It fits in just as well with Cajun and Creole menus. Interestingly, the salad never really took hold in neighboring New Orleans, but it can still be found on Baton Rouge restaurant menus today.
Everyone in Baton Rouge seems to have their own version of this recipe. They come from Junior League Cookbooks, Review Journal newspaper articles, various LSU publications and local blogs. Hanley’s Fine Foods launched their version of this classic in 2012. You can give it a try by purchasing some on amazon.com by clicking on the picture below.
HI THERE! LINKS IN THIS POST ARE AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS WE LOVE.
Experiment with Herbs
Once I attended a cooking class in Baton Rouge about growing herbs. The instructor used a basic Sensation Salad recipe, then added a different chopped fresh herb to each bowl of greens before tossing the dressing. It was great fun to taste the flavor profile each particular salad took on with the variable of one simple herb.
Probably the easiest salad I make, Sensation Salad is my forever favorite. Italian (flat leaf) parsley and chilled Romaine lettuce form the simple base of the salad. Bright color, firm crunch, and a tangy, zesty garlic flavor combine for this winning dish. If I have a fresh herb on hand, I’ll add it. I especially like tarragon, basil, oregano or dill in the dressing.
Today, I’m sharing my version of the recipe. So try it and let me know if you like it!
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- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (not bottled)
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 4-6 cups cold Romaine lettuce, torn in small pieces
- 1/2 cup Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped
- 1 cup grated fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese
- (herb of choice, optional)
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice.
- Mince fresh garlic.
- Combine all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour in a jar with tight fitting lid and refrigerate. (Dressing will keep in refrigerator for 2 weeks.)
- Tear Romaine into small bite-size pieces and place in medium-large bowl.
- Chop parsley and add to bowl.
- Grate cheese and set aside.
- When ready to serve, shake dressing well to incorporate; pour 1/2 cup dressing over salad in bowl and toss well to coat. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes before serving for a crisp/chilled crunch.
- Plate tossed salad on individual plates then top with Romano or Parmesan cheese.
Salad serves 4-6. You will have leftover dressing--yay!
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