Recipes

Autumn Salad Collection

By Ramses Alvarez
 

Ramses Alvarez knows beauty. All you have to do is look at his food. In restaurant parlance, he is an “industry veteran.” The Mexico City native cooked for two decades in Milwaukee restaurant kitchens before starting his own concepts. He’s into big flavors and gorgeous presentations. You can envision Alvarez finishing dishes with a spritz of this, a sprinkle of that – edible artistry.

After settling in Milwaukee in around 2000, he started immersing himself in the food scene – cooking, dining out and taking inspiration from so many things. The diversity of the cuisines he experienced blew him away. In those early years, while he was working at Sanford Restaurant, he helped out at a James Beard dinner put on by Sanford’s then co-owner Sandy D’Amato. That led to meeting the owner of Blackbird, a Chicago Michelin Star restaurant (that has since closed). “The service, everything about the food was incredible,” he says. There, he was served a salad inside a puff pastry shell. He would never forget it. He wondered how it was made. As the years passed and he grew in cooking experience, that salad started to take shape in his mind. But it wasn’t until the COVID shutdown – when he was doing more private chef dinners – that he put the time into developing interpretations of dishes that he’d experienced over the years. That led to the recipe for this salad, inspired by that long-ago meal at Blackbird.

Ingredients

Yellow Tomato Vinaigrette:

3 cups water

1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes

1 garlic clove

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Drop 1 pint of yellow cherry tomatoes into boiling water. When the tomatoes come up to float (15-20 seconds), remove from heat. Strain, then peel off the skin and place them in the blender with the garlic clove. Blend until smooth. Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil, then the champagne vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Ingredients

Red Pepper Coulis:

1 16-ounce can roasted red peppers

1 garlic clove

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Drain the can of roasted red peppers, then pour them into a blender with garlic and blend until smooth. Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour into a bowl. Set aside.

Ingredients

Herb Oil:

1 bunch scallions

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch curly parsley

1 garlic clove

2 cups sunflower, avocado or grapeseed oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready to go nearby. Dip the scallions, cilantro and curly parsley in boiling water quickly, just until they wilt (about 1-2 seconds). Transfer the blanched herbs to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove the herbs from the water and pat them dry. Add the herbs and garlic to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl. Set aside.

Ingredients

Assemble The Salad

1 Belgian endive

1 bunch frisée greens

1 radicchio

1 bunch arugula

2 ounces balsamic reduction (homemade* or store-bought)

A few ounces of toasted hazelnuts

Instructions

Drizzle all vinaigrettes/sauces over a large white plate. Place the pastry basket at 12 o’clock on the plate. Fill the basket, starting with arugula inside. Then, around the edge, place the radicchio leaves, the endive leaves and frisée. Drizzle the balsamic reduction on top and sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts. Serve.

Bio

Born and raised in Mexico City, Ramses Alvarez was exposed to cooking very early on, owing to the street food stand his mother operated and the guiding influence of his godfather, who worked as a chef. Since moving to Milwaukee in 2000, he’s worked at Mason Street Grill, the Hyatt Regency hotel, and the former Juniper 61. Venturing off on his own, Alvarez offers private chef dinners and catering, and he has plans to open a Mediterranean-focused restaurant in the Third Ward.

Ramses Alvarez

Restaurant Coming Soon!

Ramses Alvarez

Restaurant Coming Soon!

Find More Recipes