Kitchen Mailbox: Maurice Salad, born here, remains city favorite

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Kitchen Mailbox today has another "take me back in time" recipe, the Maurice Salad. Janet Graffan of Ross requested a recipe for the Maurice Salad with dressing from the Park Schenley.

Today's recipe isn't from the Park Schenley, but from the William Penn Hotel (now called the Omni William Penn), Downtown, the place where the Maurice Salad originated.

The salad dates to the big band era. Marion Sauers of Brighton Heights sent Kitchen Mailbox a copy of a 1983 Pittsburgh Press article written by Marilyn McDevitt Rubin.

Dorothy Fafata of Spring Hill sent Kitchen Mailbox a photo copy of another article written years later by Ms. Rubin. Both articles explain how the Maurice Salad was created.

Around 1934, orchestra leader Maurice Spitalny explained to his waiter at the William Penn Hotel how he wanted his salad prepared: julienned ham, turkey breast and Swiss cheese on a bed of greens, tomatoes and hard-cooked eggs, with a mayonnaise dressing.

The word spread about the Maurice Salad and soon other restaurants were offering their version of it. In 1945, the William Penn Hotel added the salad to its menu, and it's still on the menu today.

Susann McMichael of Venetia and Mary Jones of Greenville, Mercer County, also sent copies of the recipe for the Maurice Salad from "Mike Kalina's Pittsburgh Cookbook," which was published in 1991.

Although there are variations to the recipe, the one consistent ingredient was the red pepper relish in the dressing -- but we couldn't find it! However, we did find adequate substitutions including Hot Cherry Peppers Hoagie Spread (McGinnis Sisters, Brentwood) and Mild Giardiniera Relish, Dell'Alpe (Brentwood Giant Eagle).

MAURICE SALAD

PG TESTED

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped very fine
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional
  • Chopped chives
Salad:
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped (or lettuce of your choice)
  • 3 large or 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • Cherry Peppers Hoagie Spread or Mild Giardiniera Relish in place of pepper relish, to taste (we used 2 tablespoons)
  • Ham, Swiss cheese and chicken, cut in julienne strips
  • Radish and hard-cooked egg for garnish

Mix dressing ingredients and store in refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Before serving, combine dressing with chopped lettuce and chopped tomatoes and relish, to taste.

Place dressed lettuce in large salad bowls. Arrange on top strips of ham, Swiss cheese and chicken and place radish, cut in flower shapes (if desired) in the center. Garnish with hard-cooked egg.

Makes enough for 4 or more salads, depending on appetite.

Requests

Audrey Bertovich of Plum: "I am looking for a recipe similar to the gorgonzola cheese spread sold in the specialty cheese section of the larger Giant Eagle stores. It is a spreadable consistency and contains black olives and gorgonzola cheese. It is delicious on crackers."


If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com . Include a name, neighborhood/city/borough/township and state and a daytime phone number.


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