This salad has been served at the Erie Beach Hotel in Port Dover as long as I can remember. It’s a jellied salad, which is something you don’t see that often any more and it’s quite unique. Most people know the Erie Beach as the place to go for Lake Erie perch and celery bread, but if you visit The Cove Room which is the lower level more formal dining room, you’ll have a salad cart brought right to your table. Everyone has a favourite from their selection of classic and retro sides. This one is mine.
I often include a little story about a recipe or restaurant and this one is cute. My dad and brothers were away on a camping trip so my mom and sister and I went to the Erie Beach Hotel in Port Dover for a special girls dinner. When we didn’t receive our bill, my mom called the waiter over. He explained that it was taken care of. My mom was puzzled and asked who paid for it. He said “Let’s just say you are the princess of the week.” Well, mom looked around the restaurant and didn’t see anyone she knew. She asked around later but no one ever owned up to it. To this day, we have no idea who paid for our meal but we all agree, we are all princesses!
The idea of salad usually includes greens and vegetables. In this case the only vegetable present in the salad is horseradish. Yes, it’s a vegetable. You may think Horseradish Salad sounds strange but it’s really tasty. I have to wonder though, imagine someone years ago saying “I have an idea, let’s mix together horseradish, whipping cream and jello.” Sometimes the best recipes start with a crazy idea.
Horseradish can be hot or mild and not necessarily what the label claims. Sometimes hot horseradish is not really hot at all. That’s usually caused by time. It will lose heat as it ages so if you like the heat, make sure you use fresh horseradish. Draining it is important to ensure you don’t have too much liquid in the bottom layer, otherwise it may not set properly. A paper coffee filter works great. Paper towel would work too. I wouldn’t recommend a mesh strainer because the horseradish will get stuck in the mesh.
This is a super easy recipe but you need some time to make it because there’s some waiting and chilling time between steps. You start by mixing one box of jello with boiling water and then letting it cool. It takes about 90 minutes in the fridge give or take. Keep a close eye on it because you want to catch it right when it starts to get thick but before it’s gelled.
While you’re waiting for the jello to cool, get the other ingredients ready for the bottom layer. Make sure you use real whipping cream. If you buy the stuff that’s already whipped, it’s also sweetened which you don’t want. Just whip up a half cup of real whipping cream which is 35% milk fat. And use real mayonnaise, not Miracle Whip which is also too sweet. There’s already lots of sugar in the jello.
Normally when you’re combining whipped cream with other ingredients you need to carefully fold it together so you don’t deflate the cream. In this case, you do still need to be careful but since it’s going to firm up anyway with the jello you don’t have to worry as much. Just make sure it’s well combined then pour it into a dish.
If you’re planning to serve Horseradish Salad cut into squares like it’s served at the Erie Beach, use a 9 x 13 pan. Otherwise you can use other shaped serving dishes or even individual ramekins. Or some of both!
Let the bottom layer chill in the fridge for a while to make sure it has time to set. Then make the second box of jello while it’s chilling as per the regular instructions. You can let it cool a bit too, just so you aren’t pouring warm liquid over the gelled layer. Pour it carefully so the force of the liquid doesn’t make a hole in the bottom layer. Like I did. If you pour the liquid over the back of a spoon it will help prevent that from happening.
If you’re making ramekins, spoon the liquid over top of the bottom layer. You’ll need about 12 ramekins.
I’m certain that I remember this salad being green at some point. Maybe it was sometimes made with lime jello. The recipe I have is quite old and does say you can use lemon or pineapple jello for the top layer. Perhaps they changed it up from time to time. Or I’m just remembering it wrong. I would say that any of the above mentioned jello flavours would work. I’d love to hear from anyone who has some background information to share. Pam?
Horseradish Salad is smooth and creamy and is terrific with roast beef.
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 85 g packages lemon jello 6 oz packages in US
- ½ cup 35% whipping cream not whipped cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise not Miracle Whip
- 4 Tbsp horseradish, drained fresh is hottest
- Combine 1st package of Jello with 1 ½ cups boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until starting to thicken, about 60-90 minutes, watching carefully to ensure it doesn't start to set.
- Drain horseradish in coffee filter or paper lined strainer.
- Pour ½ cup whipping cream into large bowl and whip until stiff. Add mayonnaise and drained horseradish.
- When Jello is cooled and thickening, fold into cream mixture and blend until well combined. Pour into 9 x 13 pan. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
- While bottom layer is setting, prepare second box of Jello as per regular instructions. Refrigerate until cool but not set, about 30 minutes or less.
- Pour Jello carefully over chilled bottom layer. Refrigerate until totally set. At least 30 minutes.
- The original recipe calls for lemon or pineapple Jello for the top layer.
- Can be made ahead and will keep in refrigerator for a few days.
more recipes from the erie beach
Pickled Pumpkin – coming soon