Stephan Pyles is a fifth-generation Texan. If you cut him, there is a good chance he would bleed poppy seed dressing, the popular sweet and sour dressing from Helen Corbitt, the cookbook author who became the director of food services at Neiman Marcus. Pyles pays homage to Corbitt on his menu by rotating seasonal salads, such as Italian melon wrapped in prosciutto or Gulf Coast crab, Ruby Red grapefruit, and avocado garnished with her iconic dressing.
Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar
Leave it to Lisa Garza to take ham salad, a simple Southern dish, and make it over. While conventional recipes call for chopped ham mixed with dill pickles and mayonnaise, she instead uses mortadella and picnic ham bound with mayonnaise and chopped French cornichons. Though it may be gussied up quite a bit, the taste of Garza’s version stays true to the flavors we remember from our childhood. Call it a tribute.
The Slow Bone
Co-owner Jack Perkins can trace his love for pea salad back more than 40 years, to when his grandmother prepared it for holiday meals. His mother also made her fair share. Today, he continues the ritual of mixing peas with equal amounts of cubed cheddar, pimento, and an “even hand” with the mayonnaise. But Perkins has made one important change: he has replaced the canned peas used by his grandmother with fresh frozen sweet peas.
Empire Baking Company
The most important ingredient in all great Southern salads is Hellmann’s mayonnaise. When Empire Baking Company’s co-owner Meaders Moore Ozarow developed her recipe for chicken salad 19 years ago, she was attempting to knock off the rendition served at Marty’s, the gourmet food shop on Oak Lawn. So she grabbed the Hellmann’s and added the white meat from a marinated and baked chicken and stirred in toasted almonds, celery, salt, and pepper. Though fine on its own, the salad is kicked up a notch when served between two slices of Empire’s walnut-scallion bread.
Mike Anderson's BBQ
The folks at Mike Anderson’s BBQ are committed to traditional Texas cooking. They smoke their own meats, make their own sauces, and, most important, smash their own freshly boiled potatoes for their mustardy potato salad. Their family recipe calls for skin-on Yukon taters, sweet relish, yellow onions, red peppers, kosher dill pickles, a dab of mayo, and heavy on the mustard. The special seasoning may be a secret, but anyone with a reverence for the real deal has already discovered Mike Anderson’s take.
This campy barbecue spot in Bishop Arts tosses a curveball to coleslaw lovers. They chop cabbage, add a healthy portion of Maytag blue cheese and bits of fresh jalapeño, and stir in an apple cider vinegar and mayonnaise dressing for their blue cheese slaw. The sharpness of the cheese in the crunchy and cold slaw pairs perfectly with Lockhart’s hot, juicy barbecue brisket or shoulder clod.
For Texans, mayonnaise-based potato salad is an acquired taste. Most versions of this bland-looking concoction spring from the famous delis in New York, where it is an unwritten law that mustard is only to be used on the sandwiches. The fat of the meat and the kick of spicy mustard on the sandwiches are softened by a side of sliced potatoes mixed with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, celery, and a touch of sugar. The best local version we’ve encountered is served at Deli News.