Stetson Salad

The name has nothing to do with a cowboy hat, or cowboy boots like the ones I wore to my nephew’s send-off party. Instead, it is named after a pottery company.

For Josh’s bon voyage party before he leaves for a year of teaching English in South Korea, I am bringing this unusual salad. When it’s  composed in wedges, it looks (a bit) like a wagon wheel. Though my nephew is hardly a vegetarian, plenty guests at the party are, such as his girlfriend Dana. It’s easy to leave out the poultry, or let guests eat around it. FAREWELL JOSH!!!  HAVE A GREAT YEAR!!

STETSON SALAD, adapted from Big Sky Cooking by Meredith Brokaw and Ellen Wright (Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing, 2006)

Serves 8 to 10


  • 4 cups cooked quinoa, from 2 c. uncooked (I used red quinoa from Whole Foods—don’t need to rinse or soak first, but really any quinoa works)  This is a grain native to South America.
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken  (easy to buy a rotisserie chicken and cut that up)
  • 2 cups roasted corn (from 2-3 ears)
  • 1 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped spinach, arugula, or a combination (I threw some chopped Asian greens in)


  • 2 small shallots, diced
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup Aïoli
  • ½ cup pesto (store-bought or home-made)
  • 2 TB. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. To cook quinoa, put 2 cups in a pot, add 3 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 min. or until liquid is gone.
  2. Shave kernels off ears of corn to make 2 cups. Line a baking pan with foil, grease with olive oil, and roast in oven at 400 degrees, turning often, until browned.
  3. To roast raw pumpkin seeds, sprinkle olive oil on a sided cookie sheet, spread seeds across pan in a single layer, salt lightly and roast at 400 degrees until they look slightly browned.
  4. Make a bed of the cooked quinoa on a large round shallow serving plate. Arrange the chicken, corn, cheese, pumpkin seeds, currants, tomatoes, and spinach on top of the quinoa in 7 wedge shaped sections. It will have a wagon wheel shape.
  5. To make the dressing, in a blender (or small Cuisinart) combine the shallots, buttermilk, aïoli,  pesto, lemon juice, and pepper.
  6. To serve, drizzle the dressing on top of your salad, DO NOT TOSS, and save the rest in a pitcher for your guests to add more if they like.

If you cannot find store-bought Aïoli, (I couldn’t)  make your own. I adapted the “herbed aïoli” recipefrom Jerrry Traunfeld’s The HerbFarm Cookbook (if you don’t already have that cookbook—add it to your collection—he is a Seattle chef with his own restaurant, and this fabulous book is a James Beard award winner)

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs yolks (I used Pasteurized eggs, as I am not comfortable eating raw eggs)
  • 1 to 2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB finely chopped parsley
  • 1 TB. Finely chopped marjoram or oregano (actually I used French tarragon)
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

Finely chop the garlic and mash it to a paste, adding salt.

Blend the egg yolks in a small Cuisinart or mixer, then add lemon juice and herbs, and let the olive oil slowly trickle in so that it gets incorporated and does not pool on top. Store tightly covered in the fridge.

If you used raw eggs, do not keep this for more than 2 days.

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