Recipe: Modern Chef's Salad

An old-school salad with new-school additions

This modern take on the chef's salad is all about presentation: You highlight each of the ingredients (which, here, include meat, cheese, rye croutons and, yes, apricots) by placing them on top of the lettuce in sections. If you're entertaining, let guests pick and choose exactly what they want on their greens.

It should be noted that the real work in this dish comes from prepping the vegetables, so save yourself some time and make the dressing and soft-boil the eggs in advance.

To learn more, read "Chef Yeah!"

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Chef's Salad
5 from 49 ratings
We didn't forget the chef's salad's beginnings-we just reimagined them for a more modern take on the loaded dish.
Prep Time
Cook Time
to 6 servings
Total time: 55 minutes
  • For the Rye Croutons
  • 2 cups coarsely torn rye bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the Thousand Island Dressing
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the Salad
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups torn red leaf lettuce, outer leaves discarded
  • 2 cups torn romaine lettuce (2 hearts)
  • 2 cups upland cress or watercress
  • 1½ cups matchstick-size slices jicama (½ large jicama)
  • 1 cup Sun Gold tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sprouts
  • 3 ounces cured American ham, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast
  • 2 ounces Swiss cheese, shaved using a vegetable peeler
  • 2 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch pieces (½ cup)
  • 2 apricots, pitted and quartered
  • ¾ cup broken seeded crackers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Make the rye croutons: Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the torn rye bread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Bake in the oven until the croutons are lightly toasted, about 20 minutes.
  2. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 1 cup.
  3. Make the salad: Prepare an ice bath. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the eggs for 7½ minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and transfer them to the ice bath to cool. Peel the eggs then cut them into wedges.
  4. Assemble the salad: Arrange the red leaf lettuce, romaine hearts and upland cress or watercress onto a platter. Place the jicama, tomatoes, sprouts, ham, chicken, both cheeses, apricots, crackers and eggs on top in individual sections. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with the dressing on the side.
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