Decadent Pittsburgh Salad For Two

For the Chimichurri Ranch:

Prep the smashed potatoes

Bring a salted pot of water to boil and drop in the potatoes. Cook until you can easily pierce them with a knife, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Let the potatoes cool and set aside. You can also do this a few days ahead of time.


Make the crispy shallots

Peel the shallots and slice them thinly lengthwise. You can use a mandoline, but a knife works just fine. Cut them about the thickness of a dime.


Put 2 1/4 cup of oil in a large sauce pan and add the sliced shallots. Turn the heat on medium-low. Cook for 30-45 minutes. The shallots won’t start looking golden brown until about the 30-minute mark. Feel free to turn up the heat slightly around that time. Once they start to develop color, stir them frequently with a spatula. As soon as all of the shallots look evenly golden brown, turn the heat off.

Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and drain the shallots. Place the shallots on a plate lined with paper towels. Pat the tops lightly to remove oil. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside and dispose of oil. You can do these a day ahead of time—just wrap them tightly with plastic wrap.


Make the chimichurri ranch

Cut the stems from the parsley, cilantro, and oregano while the plastic seal is still attached to each bunch. Discard of the stems and seal, but if a few stems end up getting chopped it’s all good. Chop the herbs into a coarse dice; they do not need to be finely minced. Add to a bowl.


Mince the garlic and add to the herbs. Do the same with the Serrano pepper and add to the bowl as well. At this stage, add a pinch of salt to the herb mixture. Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil. Stir to incorporate.

Next, add the mayonnaise and buttermilk. The buttermilk adds flavor, but will also thin the ranch out a bit. If you like yours thick, omit it. Mix thoroughly. Jar and set aside. This ranch is best when it sits in the fridge overnight.


Cook the smashed potatoes

Place your potatoes on a cutting board, and using the flat end of a knife, smash the potatoes so that they are leveled and squished, but not torn to shreds. They should still maintain solid form. Do that with all 10 potatoes.


Place 1/4 cup vegetable oil into a pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, place each potato into the pan. Work in batches if the pan feels overcrowded. Salt and pepper once each potato hits the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and crispy.

Assemble the salad

Rinse green leaf lettuce and pat it dry with a couple of paper towels. Then, chop it lengthwise into about 1-inch sections, then chop it again down the middle lengthwise—I’m not a fan of eating a salad with lettuce the size of a tablecloth. Now, chop the cucumber into thin coins (about the same size as the shallots). Arrange the lettuce in a bowl, and fan about seven cucumbers along the rim of the bowl.


Next, place the crispy smashed potatoes on top of the salad. Liberally sprinkle fried shallots. (If you made steak, now is the time to cut it into strips and place it onto the salad). Serve with chimichurri ranch on the side.