Salad Tropicale

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 5 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1 large head Bibb lettuce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (14-ounce) jar hearts of palm, drained, and cut diagonally into quarters

2 medium-size vine-ripened tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges

2 firm-ripe Hass avocados, halved, seeded, and sliced

1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 1D4-inch-thick half-moons

3/4 cup Herb Vinaigrette or Buttermilk Dressing, recipes follow

Buttermilk Dressing

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

5 tablespoons buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

2 tablespoons minced green onion tops

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning, recipe follows, optional

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

Herb Vinaigrette

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

1/2 cup vegetable oil (recommended: canola)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh soft herbs (such as parsley, chives, basil, and tarragon)


  1. Halve and core the Bibb lettuce. Gently separate the leaves. Rinse and spin dry the lettuce leaves. Divide the lettuce among 4 plates, arranging the leaves so as to create a bowl on each plate. Sprinkle the lettuce bowls with the salt and pepper.
  2. Divide the hearts of palm pieces, tomatoes, avocados, and cucumbers evenly among the 4 plates, forming neat individual piles of each within the lettuce bowls. Spoon 3 generous tablespoons of vinaigrette or dressing over each salad. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk Dressing

  1. Whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, minced green onion tops, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning, if using, together in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Use immediately, or store in a covered nonreactive container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning

  1. Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993.

Herb Vinaigrette

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt, and pepper. While constantly whisking, add the vegetable oil and olive oil in a thin, steady stream until they are completely incorporated and the dressing is emulsified. Stir in the fresh herbs, and adjust the seasoning to taste, if necessary. Serve the vinaigrette immediately or refrigerate in a covered nonreactive container for up to 2 days.