Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maurice? Mai oui!

The J.L. Hudson Maurice salad

When I was younger, J.L. Hudson department store in downtown Detroit, a fixture on Woodward Avenue, was a glamorous and big city destination. It was a very big deal to go downtown. When I was in high school and maybe jr. high, my sister and a couple friends would dress up (sometimes in our spring coat -- remember those) and maybe even gloves, to spend the full day there.

Always alluring were the "aisles of beauty" where you could test fragrances, check out new make-up but, because we were students, could never afford to buy. Made no difference, the sleek cosmetic clerks were as close as we could get to glamour.

We'd wander around the multi-level store, gotten to by elevators manned by elevator operators in snappy uniforms. I always thought of them as pretty powerful, maneuvering the elevator to just meet each floor.

And lunch was the highlight. Up on the top floor, with rows of windows letting in light but judiciously tempered by long, elegant curtains, the Hudson dining room was elegance par exellance.

So what did we order? Maurice salad, of course. A gorgeous plate of shredded, ice cold iceberg lettuce topped by thin batons of ham, turkey and Swiss cheese. And then the dressing. The dressing!

Creamy, a little bit tangy - and I recall studded with sweet gherkins, it was heavenly. Rich, piquant, a little saucy it made the day. Seriously. That salad was that good.

So, on this hot day, I decided to recreate the J.L. Hudson Maurice. Got the recipe off the internet, made a couple tweeks (minced onions rather than onion juice.)

Shredded the lettuce, laid on the sliced ham, turkey and Swiss and then, the crowning glory, the dressing.

Maybe not exactly, but close enough, to Hudson's dining room. A couple bites in I was roaming those upper floors and the aisles of beauty.

Here's the recipe:


2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons onion juice
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 hard-cooked egg, diced
1 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound turkey breast, cut into strips
14 ounces Swiss cheese, cut into strips
1/2 cup sliced sweet gherkin pickles
1 head iceberg lettuce - rinsed, dried, and shredded
12 pimento-stuffed green olives

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, lemon juice, onion juice, sugar, Dijon, dry mustard and mayonnaise. Add the parsley and egg; mix well.
In a large bowl, combine the ham, turkey, cheese and pickles. Add the dressing and mix well. Divide the lettuce among plates, top with salad and garnish each plate with 2 olives.

Note: Mixing the cheeses and meat and pickles is great. But as I recall, the salad came unadorned, so you could as much of the dressing to your taste. Do either, it'll still be delicious.


K said...

Love this memory!

K said...

Love this memory!

Anonymous said...

So glad I surfed onto this blog & recipe. My mom worked behind the counter in various depts. (mainly cosmetics) at Hudson's in Detroit in the 1960s and then after college she worked at Hudson's in Fairlane Mall in the early 1970s around the time I was born. She still goes to Fairlane every so often for a Maurice Salad. It's unbelievable to me but I have never had one and now I live in New York where nobody serves them. I'm so glad to find this recipe.
~KP in New York