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Canlis salad

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Easy and quick

An old Hawaiian standout

Growing up in Hawai‘i in the 60's and 70's, Canlis Charcoal Broiler was one of the premier island restaurants. I was lucky enough to go there once or twice, but in general it was not a place that a kid went. The one item on the menu they were famous for was the Canlis salad. A couple months ago The New York Times published the Canlis salad recipe. This recipe has boomeranged all over the internet ever since. I am publishing it here, just in case you missed it, because nobody should miss this simple, but elegant salad.

A little about Canlis Honolulu

Canlis in Seattle has been long recognized as an extraordinary restaurant. But before Canlis in Seattle, there was Canlis in Honolulu, another extraordinary restaurant founded by Peter Canlis. Located on the eva end of Waikiki, on Kalakaua Avenue, the restaurant was best described as tropical elegance with a semi-open air structure, lava rock walls, thick beams, orchids, lush ferns, low lighting, enormous tikis and very fine dining. When I was growing up men were required to wear dinner jackets and woman were not allowed to wear slacks. Can you imagine! Today these dress requirements strike me as somewhat hilarious, but those were the days when we got dressed up to go to the movies or board an airplane.

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  • Wash and thoroughly dry the lettuce and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours before preparing salad. The secret to this salad is really cold, lettuce with no moisture on it.
  • This recipe makes more dressing than needed for one salad. Start with one third to one half the dressing and toss thoroughly. Do not over dress. Save remaining dressing for the next night.
  • If you are hesitant to use an almost raw egg, you can use pasturized eggs, that are available in many grocery stores.

Canlis salad

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Canlis Restaurant’s elegantly simple salad, dates back to its 60’s & 70’s in Waikiki. Fresh herbs, romano cheese and a coddled egg vinaigrette are the secret.

  • Author: Something New For Dinner
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x


  • 3 slices thick cut apple smoked bacon
  • 1 cup 1/4″ thick baguette slices
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher or Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 heads of romaine, washed dried and chilled
  • 23 green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cups mint, chopped
  • 12 T fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated


  1. Slice the bacon into 1″ x 1/4″ strips. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  2. Discard all but one tablespoon of bacon fat. Add baguette slices to pan and toss. Toast baguette slices on low heat until crisp, turning so they do not burn. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. To make the dressing, fill a coffee cup with boiling water and drop in a fresh egg. Set your timer for one minute and remove the egg. Rinse with cold water and set aside. Put the lemon juice in a small bowl and gradually whisk in olive oil to form an emulsion. Crack the egg into the vinaigrette and continue to whisk until the dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Slice the lettuce into 1″ strips. Toss lettuce, green onions, mint, oregano, tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and croutons together. Transfer to a serving platter or individual salad plates. Top with remaining dressing.







  1. B Clark says:

    The Canlis Salad has been a tradition in our family for over 40 years. I love to make it and especially love to serve it to people that have never tried it. We have at almost every party and family holiday. My uncle ,a retired colonel,gave us the recipe many years ago. The story was that the salad was served at a dinner at the White House that he attended. Could that be true? Some of our family call it the White House Salad. But he also lived in Hawaii back in the sixties so now I’m wondering if that is where he first had the Canlis salad at the restaurant in Honolulu? Can anyone verify if the salad was ever served at the White House?

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      That is an interesting story. I have never heard Canlis salad called White House Salad, but it could have been served at the White House. There is a good chance that any dignitaries visiting Honolulu in the 60’s may have eaten at Canlis and that the salad might have made its way to the White House. I remember when JFK visited Honolulu in 1963. I was five years old and everyone lined the streets to get a glimpse of him in his motorcade. My family waited on Kapahulu Avenue in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. He and Jackie Kennedy passed right before us in a convertible. People reached out to shake his hands and give him leis. After a little internet research I learned that Kennedy’s visit to Honolulu was only 20 hours long, but I could find nothing about where he ate on that visit.

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