Cocktail Salad Shooters

Cocktail Salad Shooters

Years back when I was being groomed by a well known hospitality firm, I was offered several positions to make some extra coinage and meet and cook with other well know chefs. The Canadian Open and the Skins Games were held back in Ontario annually and was a place where I got to cook in the famous Champions Tent for the pro golfers and their guests.


It was a great position to prepare lavish buffets and get to show off your culinary prowess. Back then the major banks, automobile, liquor and tobacco companies would host several big name players and invite their customers to attend a privileged one on one meeting with a pro golfer while noshing, table hopping and trying to catch a tip from the pro.




The many food styles and canapés that adorned many grazing stations were to be kept at the optimum levels with lots of jumbo shrimp, fresh shucked oysters, pate, cracked crab, smoked tuna and poached salmon, prime rib of beef cut from the roast and hundreds of waiter served canapés of baked, fried, steamed or chilled appetizers with lots of mini salads.





The dessert table was in a zone all by itself. Slices and tasters of just about every kind of cake, tort, square, tart and mousse. Several varieties of bite size fruit, vegetables and cheeses filled in every available space in-between.

The golfers had their own synopsis menus that they ate from during and after games. Some golfers would ask me to get there luck bringing comfort foods like Greg Norman who liked a hot dog before each game. Some had to have a  corn beef on rye, egg salad, slice of pizza or a hot chocolate.

It was three days of nonstop cooking to please the clients. I did this routine two years in a row and the item that I was asked to duplicate was my Cocktail Salads display which I was told by several of my peers that the salads supplied a major visual and flavorous version for the light eater.


These salad shooters were named the Splendid Spinach Salad, the Spicy Carrot Salad and the Snazzy Summer Salad.

All three of the salad recipes were shown to me by the chefs that held head positions at Canadian Pacific Hotels, The Palliser, The Banff Springs and Hotel Vancouver. They still taste and satisfy and presented in nifty highball glasses or edible rice wraps, they get a favourable response even from the non-vegans.

Here are those recipes.



You will need: Splendid Spinach Salad

  • 2 lbs. of spinach, washed and torn
  • 1 cup mandarin orange sections
  • 1 cup of slivered purple onion
  • 6 boiled eggs cut into ¼ sections
  • ½ lb. of crumbled bacon bits
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • 4 tbs of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Place all the salad ingredients equally and uniformly into chilled cocktail glasses.
  • Place the salad dressing ingredients into a jar, seal and shake till well blended.
  • Taste to adjust seasonings and it should have a pleasant sweet and sour taste.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the cocktail salads and serve promptly.

Spicy Carrot Salad

  • 1lb of fresh grated organic carrots
  • 2 in. cube of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 lemon freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbs of cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
  • ½ tbs of toasted caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp of ground cumin
  • Place in glass bowl.
  • Now and whisk in 1 tbs olive oil and 3 tbs of plain yogurt season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour over carrots and ginger and toss to coat. Place into cocktail glass and garnish with some fresh cilantro sprigs.

The Snazzy Summer Salad

  • 1/3 cup sugar toasted sliver almonds
  • 5 cups of mixed baby salad greens
  • 5 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of cut sections of a blood orange
  • 2 firm ripe avocados cubed
  • 1 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tbs of tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs honey
  • ½ cup virgin olive oil
  • To prepare dressing combine above ingredients and whisk in small drizzles of olive oil until well blended and creamy in texture.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. In large bowl place the salad ingredients, the chilled greens and toss with the dressing to coat well.
  • Place equally divided into cocktail glasses for best presentation.
  • These three salads make great sides for outdoor grilled chicken, meats or fish.