Give Columbia a run for its money with this 1905 salad recipe! It tastes just like the original… maybe even better.
If you’ve ever been to the Columbia Restaurant, you know very well how iconic the 1905 salad is.
Crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, meaty olives, sweet ham, and creamy cheese are tossed in a secret dressing that’s loaded with umami flavors.
Served with Cuban bread and cream butter, the salad truly is a treat.
If you’re missing the freshness and unique flavor of the 1905 salad, this copycat recipe is exactly what you’ll need.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know to get a super close, if not perfect, replica of the original.
With this 1905 salad recipe, salad has never been this good. Let’s begin!
1905 Salad Recipe
The 1905 salad is the perfect combination of colors, flavors, and textures.
From the toppings alone, you can already tell it’s extra special. This bowl is fully loaded with shredded lettuce, ham, cheese, tomatoes, olives – the works!
Then there’s the dressing. With this special sauce, your tastebuds will be treated to a playful blend of sweet, savory, tart, and earthy flavors.
It’s everything you can ever ask for in a dressing.
What are the Origins of this Salad?
Anyone from Florida has been to or is at least familiar with the Columbia Restaurant.
Started in 1905, it’s one of the longest-running restaurants in the state, and the birthplace of the famous 1905 salad.
Despite its name, though, the 1905 salad was not created until the 1940s. Tony Noriega, a waiter, created the salad one random night using leftovers in the fridge.
While the salad wasn’t part of the restaurant’s menu, he would sometimes serve it to his customers, who loved his Spanish Italian twist on the dish.
In 1970, Columbia adapted the salad and added it to their menu. To this day, the restaurant still offers it to their customers.
If that’s not a testament to how delicious the 1905 salad is, I don’t know what is.
For the Dressing:
- Minced Garlic Cloves – If you love its pungent flavor, go ahead and add more!
- Dried Oregano – for earthiness.
- Worcestershire Sauce – It’s the secret ingredient that makes the dressing extraordinary. Worcestershire has a nuanced umami flavor that gives the salad its distinct taste.
- Extra Virgin Spanish Olive Oil – From the aroma to the flavor, it’s the perfect oil for any salad dressing.
- White Wine Vinegar – An acidic contrast to the savory Worcestershire sauce and olive oil.
- Fresh Lemon Juice – Some zesty goodness to balance out and brighten up the dressing’s flavors.
- Salt And Pepper – To Taste
For the Salad:
- Iceberg Lettuce – The base of the salad that gives it a lovely crunch.
- Ripe Tomatoes – Fresh and juicy red tomatoes are always a great salad component.
- Swiss Cheese – It’s soft and creamy, but not as salty as other cheeses. It has just the right balance of flavor.
- Baked Ham – The sweet, savory, and meaty flavor complements the rest of the ingredients well. You can also use shrimp or turkey.
- Green Spanish Olives – Besides the meaty flavor, they also add a nice pop of color. Black or kalamata olives will work, too.
- Freshly Grated Romano Cheese – Everything tastes better with freshly grated cheese! You can use Parmesan cheese if you don’t have Romano.
How to Make 1905 Salad
Start by making the salad dressing. Preparing it first gives time for the flavors to marry and create a wonderful harmony.
In a bowl, whisk together minced garlic, dried oregano, and Worcestershire sauce.
This recipe differs a bit from the original in that you’ll toss the Worcestershire sauce in the dressing.
In the OG salad, the Worcestershire sauce is added at the very end.
I personally prefer this method because it gives the Worcestershire sauce time to blend with the dressing ingredients.
Once combined, gradually beat in the olive oil. The combination of Worcestershire sauce and olive oil will create a nice emulsion.
Add in the vinegar and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dressing done!
Next up, prepare the salad mix-ins. Shred the lettuce, cut the tomatoes into wedges, and slice the Swiss cheese and baked ham julienne (thin, matchstick-like strips).
Place them all in a large bowl along with the olives. Pour the dressing and toss the ingredients to coat. Add the Romano cheese and toss once again.
Serve and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Salad
- In the original 1905 salad, the Worcestershire sauce and lemon weren’t added to the dressing. Instead, it is drizzled directly onto the salad right before serving.
Some say that in doing so, you’ll get the full flavor of the lemon and the sauce instead of them being mixed in with the dressing.
Personally, I don’t taste the difference. I think they only did it for extra pizazz.
But you can definitely give it a try, and let me know down in the comments what you think!
- Take the ingredient measurements just as a guide. Feel free to add more of your favorites! I love adding more ham, cheese, and olives to mine.
- You can also make substitutions if some ingredients aren’t available. For instance, romaine lettuce is fine instead of iceberg. If you can’t find Spanish olive oil, regular olive oil will work as well.
- Besides ham, you can also add bacon, salami, pepperoni, shrimp, or turkey. Hard-boiled eggs, too! It’s an awesome way to use up whatever leftovers you have in the fridge.
- Salad doesn’t keep well in the fridge, so only assemble what you can consume right away. If you have to make it ahead of time, just prepare the ingredients, but do not coat them with the dressing yet.
Without the dressing, you can store the salad in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days.
- This salad was invented by a Cuban and Spanish eatery, so it only makes sense to serve it with dishes from the same cuisines. Chicken with rice and Cuban bread with butter both work well with this salad.
- Prepare the dressing first to allow the flavors to marry. You can even make it a day in advance to get the flavors to really meld together.
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