Prep Time: 30 min.
Difficulty: Medium
Yield: 4 salads

Adozen ingredientstossed in a refreshing lemon-basil dressing is what makes Ruth’s Chris’s signature salad taste so great, but the presentation of this dish is what brings out the “Wows.” Now you can make a tower of salad just like the one at this fancy steakhouse chain after you track down some 3-inch PVC pipe at your local home improvement store. Saw a 4-inch length off the pipe and use sandpaper to smooth the edges, then find a glass or bottle with a flat bottom to use as a press. Once you prepare the dressing and crispy onions, and chop and toss the other ingredients, you can use this inexpensive mold to create your hacked salad masterpiece.


 ½ cup mayonnaise
2½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon salt Pinch of ground black pepper

4 cups canola oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces (4 cups) chopped iceberg lettuce
1 ounce (1 cup) chopped radicchio
½ ounce (¼ cup) julienned spinach
2 ounces (1 cup) sliced red onion
1½ ounces (1 cup) sliced white mushrooms
1 ounce (¾ cup) small croutons (classic cut)
2 ounces (½ cup) sliced hearts of palm
2 ounces (½ cup) chopped hard-cooked egg
2 ounces (½ cup) bleu cheese crumbles
 1½ ounces (⅓ cup) diced cooked bacon (from 4 to 5 slices)
1 ounce (¼ cup) chopped canned green olives with pimientos

6 grape tomatoes

How to prepare

  1. Make the mold for your salads by cutting a 4-inch-long section off of 3-inch-diameter PVC pipe. Sand the ends of the pipe to smooth it and then give it a good wash. 
  2. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until needed. The dressing is best when it rests for several hours, or even overnight.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Make the crispy onions by tossing the sliced onion with the flour in a medium bowl. When the oil is hot, cook a handful of breaded onion slices at a time in the oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on one side, then flip them and fry for 1 to 2 more minutes. Set the crispy onions aside when done, but do not cover them.
  4. About 30 minutes before you plan to serve the salad, place the serving plates in your freezer. 
  5. When you are ready to assemble the salad, toss all of the salad ingredients (but not the crispy onions) in a large bowl, then pour on the dressing and toss gently with tongs.
  6. Prepare each serving by dropping one-quarter of the salad into the PVC pipe mold on a cold serving plate. Press down semi-firmly on the salad with the bottom of a round glass or bottle that fits into the pipe mold. Do not press too hard or you will squeeze the dressing out of the salad, and that’s not cool. 
  7. Place one-quarter of the crispy onions on the salad and use the glass again to press down onto the salad gently as you lift up the pipe mold. 
  8. Slice the grape tomatoes in half lengthwise and arrange three in a row on each plate before serving. 

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