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Canlis House Salad

Canlis Restaurant, Seattle

Mark Canlis

serves 4 to 6

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce
  •  salad oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1–2 ripe roma tomatoes
  •  sprigs of fresh mint (enough to provide 4 tablespoons of julienned leaves)
  •  sprig of fresh oregano (enough to provide ½ teaspoon of julienned leaves)
  • 1/2 cup very well-done bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Croutons (Recipe follows.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including greens
  • 3/4 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated
  • fresh-cracked pepper

Canlis Dressing

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 coddled egg (See recipe.)
  • 1 pinch crushed garlic
  • 1 dash of sea salt
  • 1 dash of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Wash individual romaine leaves in warm water; drain and dry in colander, then chill in refrigerator. Don’t ever toss a Canlis salad with warm, wet leaves!

Season wooden bowl with a little salad oil and a rub with a cut garlic clove. Cut the bitter tops off romaine; chop head lengthwise, then across, into 1-inch squares.

Blanch tomatoes for 1 minute; shock in cold water to remove skin.

Cut tomatoes in half and then into quarters or thirds, comfortably bite-size.

Peel mint leaves off stem and julienne. Pull oregano leaves off stem and julienne.

For the dressing, squeeze lemon juice into a bowl. To coddle the egg, pour boiling water into a cup and put a whole egg (in the shell) into the hot water; let sit for 2 minutes, then shock in cold water. You may substitute pasteurized egg mixture.

Combine lemon juice and coddled egg in a bowl. Beat with a fork until well incorporated. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and mix. Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Taste as you go by dipping a piece of lettuce into the dressing. It should be tart.

Place the chopped lettuce in the prepared salad bowl; add oregano, mint, bacon, croutons, green onion and Romano. (Save some cheese for garnish.)

Toss first without the dressing, then pour dressing lightly over the top and toss again. (Start judiciously with the dressing and add more if needed.) Add tomatoes and lightly toss.

Plate and top with fresh-cracked pepper and more Romano cheese. Add some mizithra cheese if you like.

Note: You can’t use too much mint. Experiment! The best Canlis salads use olive oil that has been flavored with garlic cloves, or rub the inside of a wooden bowl with garlic cloves. If you don’t have a wooden salad bowl, add garlic powder to the dressing mix.


  • stale (day-old) bread
  • butter
  • any Italian salad dressing seasoning

Cut bread in small cubes, toss in melted butter with the seasoning and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until brown and crisp.