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salad villa montana 005A friend of ours, back from a visit to Mexico, brought us a delightful privately printed cookbook: Villa Montaña Cuisine by Ray Cote…Raymond Cote, the…owner of Villa Montaña, does magnificent things with food.” (from an article in The Times Daily of Florence, Alabama on September 6, 1972).

Villa Montaña was and still is a resort hotel in the hills outside the city of Morelia in Central Mexico.  The key to a salad  à la Villa Montaña is in Mr. Cote’s vinaigrette.  Any combination of lettuces dressed with it will make a salad of unfussy elegance.

salad villa montana 007 - CopySalad Villa Montaña (for almost 2 cups of salad dressing)

Note:  To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.

A Timing Note:  The dressing may be rapidly put together right before arranging the salads.  But it is also fine to make it several hours ahead of time, store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature (or not) and shake it vigorously just before using it.   Refrigerated (especially when stored in a glass container), the vinaigrette keeps well for at least a week.

salad villa montana 020Ingredients:

  • an assortment of Salad Greens or a single variety:  about 1 generous cup per person
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped Yellow Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coarse-grained Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Sweet Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1/8 cup of Cider Vinegar
  • 1 generous Tablespoon of chopped Celery
  • 1/4 cup of Water
  • 1 cup of Olive Oil


  • a Food Processor or Blender

salad villa montana 003 - Copy1.  Wash and dry the salad greens.  If you are not making the salads right away, roll the greens up in a cotton towel and place them in the refrigerator.

2.  To make the vinaigrette, place the onion, garlic cloves, mustard, paprika, black pepper, salt, sugar, cider vinegar, celery and water in the food processor or blender and process until the mixture is fairly smooth.

3.  Still processing, slowly add the oil in a stream and blend until the mixture emulsifies (i.e., the water and oil combine).

4.  Arrange salad leaves on individual plates or in bowls, dribble some of the vinaigrette over each salad and serve.  (See the Timing Note above if you prefer making the dressing ahead of time.)

salad villa montana 011A Note:  Salad Villa Montaña is the Salad Course of the Dinner Menu:  Dinner at Journey’s End.  The recipe is adapted from one that appeared in an article in Gourmet (November 1989).

salad villa montana 031A Second Note:  Photos of Hotel Villa Montaña are here on the hotel’s website.

salad villa montana 017A Request to Readers and Cooks:  A subscriber has requested advice on making Orange and/or Lemon Marmalade.  Her question is posted in the diplomatickitchen’s Ask and Tell feature.  Your good recipes for either of these marmalades will be greatly appreciated.  You are invited to go to Ask and Tell and contribute your version of this recipe.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013