Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mock Bravo Insalata Della Casa

Chris used to work at Bravo! Cucina Italian before he met me.  It is a nationwide chain restaurant group that also owns Brio Italian Gril.  He was a server there for quite some time and at the time, got 80% off or something rediculous when he dined there.  Basically, he could get a FILET MIGNON dinner for the price of a fast food value meal!  Sadly, once we started dating, he quit his job.  He says it was so he could spend more time with me (servers were required to work on Saturdays) but I say why the heck didn't we at least go for a good (and cheap!) date before he quit! 

You already know that Chris despises anything white and creamy...ranch-type dressings being one of them.  Oddly enough, he loves this salad and I think it's possibly the only a la carte add-on salad that he'll get a restaurant yet it's a cream-based sauce!  What really makes this salad is the creamy parmesan dressing.  I couldn't find Bravo's specific recipe but I found one by Emril so decided to give it a shot.  As expected, it wasn't quite the same but still rather good, nonetheless :).

At any rate, Bravo remains one of our favorite restaurants today and so for our (belated) Valentine's Day dinner this year I made a Mock Bravo Italian meal for the two of us at home.  I will put the breakouts of restaurant pricing below but in total had we eaten the same meal at Bravo it would have cost us at least $40 + tax and tip.
*Note: I didn't make the dipping oil this time but I've linked to a recipe that I've bookmarked to try next time that's supposedly the real deal from Bravo! It'll need scaling though as the recipe is for 1 GALLON! Sheesh!

Mock Bravo Della Casa Salad
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Yields: 4 Servings

  • Iceburg lettuce, rinsed, dried, and chopped
  • Tomato, diced
  • 1/2 Cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 Red onion, diced
  • Creamy parmesan dressing, store bought or recipe to follow
  • Bacon bits
  • Tortilla strips (omitted)
Creamy Parmesan  Dressing
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream (used unflavored yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Essence, recipe to follow
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Yield: about 1/2 cup

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast)*
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all seasoning ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup. 

*Note: Since I didn't know if I'd use the blend again anytime soon I just improvised and did 2 dashes each of paprika, salt, and garlic powder; 1 dash each of remaining ingredients directly into the dressing mixture.

  1. In a large salad bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
  2. Add some prepared creamy parmesan dressing and toss to coat.  Add more dressing as desired.
  3. Top salad with bacon bits and tortilla strips before serving cold.
Source: Original Christine's Kitchen Chronicles copycat recipe; Creamy parmesan dressing from Emeril Live 2005 (Mushroom Show)


Anonymous said...

I've made this twice in one week-so, so yummy!!!

Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles said...

Anonymous - Awesome! Can I come over for dinner? :)