The Wolfe sisters, Mandy and Rebecca, started their salad business 16 years ago in a 200-square-foot space at the back of a Montreal clothing shop in Victoria Village. They bought their fridge at a used appliance store, their cash register at Staples and set a couple of IKEA stools in front of a tiny counter. Then they prayed for customers who, like them, think that salad all on its own can be a fulsome and hearty meal.
“We had a lot of people telling us it’s risky,” Mandy says. “You have to do sandwiches. You have to do wraps. But there was always something inside of us that said, if you do one thing well with the freshest ingredients, people will come.”
“It took us a couple of years before lines began to snake outside the store, but snake they did,” Rebecca says.
Mandy’s Gourmet Salads now has eight locations in Montreal, including a gorgeous flagship store in the Old Port (the sisters describe the decor there as “old Parisian bistro with a beach feel”), as well as their little nook at the back of women’s clothing store Mimi & Coco.
“We wanted to change people’s perceptions of what salad is,” says Rebecca, who designs their locations and heads brand marketing. “When we started the business it was looked down upon as rabbit food, not very exciting, and considered a side dish. We knew it could be a decadent and delicious meal on its own.”
Their first cookbook, Mandy’s Gourmet Salads: Recipes for Lettuce and Life, includes some of their classics, such as Endless Summer, the Shanghai, R&D Extraordinaire, the Lumberjack, and of course, the Wolfe Salad. There are also recipes for smoothies, bowls, and desserts.
Mandy, who is creative food director of the salad chains, is constantly switching up the menu, based on the seasons and customers’ preferences. Her inspiration often comes from places she or her sister have visited. “Our salads reflect our own life experiences, our travels and the various cultures we’ve been lucky enough to learn about and appreciate.”
Peach and Prosciutto Salad
- Serves 1
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 cup shredded frisée lettuce
- 1 peach, cut into 6 to 8 segments
- 2 tablespoons red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ ball fresh burrata, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves, torn
- 2 thin slices prosciutto
- Italian summer dressing
- Makes 2 cups
- 1½ cups olive oil
- ½ cup high-quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Maldon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a jar and then seal and shake to combine. This dressing will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 7 days.
For the salad, combine all of the ingredients except the prosciutto in a large stainless-steel bowl. Top with the dressing and, using tongs, toss until well-mixed and dressed. Serve on a large plate or small platter, and top with the prosciutto slices.
Note: If you want to make use of a whole ball of burrata, this salad will serve four people. Just be sure to multiply the other ingredients by four also.
Excerpted from Mandy’s Gourmet Salads by Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, and Meredith Erickson. Copyright © 2020 Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, and Meredith Erickson. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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