“The Island Hotel Restaurant is where this dish originated. Created by Bessie Gibbs who owned the hotel from 1946 to 1973, this fresh salad is garnished with seasonal fruits, and served with the original dressing, fresh hearts of palm, and sugared dates.” ~ from the Island Hotel’s website
There’s a beautiful, historical hotel in Cedar Key Florida called The Island Hotel. They have a wonderful, simple, classic menu where this popular salad has been featured since they opened their doors. By looking at the description listed on their current menu, I can see it’s changed a bit over the years, but the version I found in one of my vintage cookbooks is sooooo delicious. You won’t believe the “secret” ingredient in the salad dressing!
***NOTE: I didn’t have candied ginger on hand when I made this the first time, but I did have a jar of this awesome ginger jam. I decided to add 2 Tablespoons of the ginger jam to the dressing instead of using candied ginger on the salad. The recipe is great either way.
for the salad:
4 cups palm or lettuce hearts
1 cup pineapple, cubed
1/4 cup dates, chopped (I used a bit more)
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped ***
Place palm hearts or torn romaine hearts on 4 salad plates. Top each with 1/4 cup of the pineapple and divide the dates and candied ginger evenly among the plates. Top with the ice cream salad dressing.
for the Ice Cream Salad Dressing:
4 Tablespoons vanilla ice cream, softened
2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise
2 heaping Tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons ginger jam (if you’re not using candied ginger on the salad)
2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a pretty serving dish or creamer for an elegant presentation.
Pour desired amount of dressing on each salad.