Recently while vacationing in Florida, my In-Laws took my husband and I to a marvelous little Spanish restaurant in St. Augustine called The Columbia Restaurant. This place is owned and operated by a sweet Cuban family and man-oh-man is the food good. Authentic Spanish cuisine with a home-cooked flavor and presentation. Wonderful!
We discovered that they actually share some of their family recipes in a cookbook that you can get in the restaurant’s gift shop. Being the foodie that I am and because every bit of food I had was absolutely incredible, I just had to get it. And I am SO glad that I did because the recipes are both incredible and incredibly simple. And now I am pleased to be able to share some of the recipes with you.
So, to start with I will share the recipe for the “Columbia’s Original 1905 Salad” – the first course of our meal. This makes a great side dish to any meal you would usually serve with salad. It’s light enough to not be overwhelming, but delicious and filling enough to make a whole meal if you want to just eat salad.
Now, you may initially turn up your nose at some of the ingredients as I did when I first saw the salad being made because it is a bit of an odd combination. But trust me… the flavors come together to make a salad unlike any I have tried. And it seriously may be my favorite salad EVER. So, before you pass it over, give it a try sometime and if you are anything like me, your opinion of this salad will increase dramatically with the first bite and every bite thereafter.
- 4 cups iceberg lettuce, broken into bite size pieces
- 1 ripe tomatoes, sliced into wedges or bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup baked ham, julienned (2″ x 1/8″ pieces)
- 1/2 cup swiss cheese, julienned (2″ x 1/8″ pieces)
- 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
- 1 cup “1905” dressing (see below recipe)
- 1/4 cup romano cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon each)
Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, swiss cheese, and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” dressing, romano cheese, worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Toss well and serve immediately.
Makes 2 full salads or 4 side salads.
Tips & Alterations
- The original recipe actually calls for 2 cups of the “1905” dressing. But trust me, 1 cup is PLENTY! Just double the dressing recipe (because it only makes a little more than 1/2 cup) and you will be good to go.
- I added extra tomatoes to my salad because I love tomatoes. Extra ham and swiss cheese are also good. Just put as much on of each as you would like.
- You can substitute turkey or shrimp in place of the ham if desired.
- We are not olive people, so I leave the green olives off. But I am sure they make a nice addition if you are in to olives.
- Although there may seem to be a lot of garlic in the salad dressing, don’t skimp on it. It really does make a difference and it is not as strong as you might think.
- If you do not have romano cheese, you can use parmesan cheese instead.
And now for a few photos of the process and final product…