50 Women Game Changers in Food: #15, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso

My copy of Silver Palate has seen better days, but that's always the way to find a favorite recipe....look for the dirty pages! There are quite a few of those in this wildly popular cookbook by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso with Michael McLaughlin. Between them, Lukins, Rosso and McLaughlin introduced many Americans to French, Southern and Eastern European cooking techniques and ingredients. 

In the 1970s, after Lukins had spent some time at the Cordon Bleu in London and had worked with chefs in France, she returned the New York and started a catering business. In 1977, she co-founded (with 
Rosso) a gourmet and catering shop in NYC called The Silver Palate. McLaughlin managed the Silver Palate and when owners Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins decided to write their first book, he created many of the recipes. Lukins sold her interest in The Silver Palate in 1988 when it was sold to new owners and the store finally was closed in 1993.

After 11 years working together, Rosso and Lukins split up in the 1990s in a widely-reported feud, although they were reunited in 2007 to publish a new 25th-anniversary edition of The Silver Palate Cookbook. Lukins passed away in 2009. Rosso and her husband Bill own an inn in Saugatuck, Michigan. She gives cooking lessons there.

McLaughlin stayed in the background (this poor photo was hard to come by) for the most part and left the Silver Palate in 1984 when he opened the Manhattan Chili Company in New York’s Greenwich Village, a restaurant that showcased Southwestern cuisine. Michael died in Santa Fe in 2002.

To honor these "game changers" I chose to make a seafood salad I've been making for years. What I like about this recipe is you can dress it with different salad dressings. A basil 
purée or a sherry mayonnaise are the two I use the most; I like them both, or you could use any recipe for a basil pesto you may have.  I chose to use the sherry mayonnaise this time. I also like to add tomatoes as it seems to call out for some additional color.

Pasta and Seafood Salad
From The Silver Palate Cookbook

1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 pound bay scallops, rinsed
3 squid, dressed
1/2 pound corkscrew or shell pasta (I used cavatelli here, but I do prefer corkscrew or something unusual.)
1 cup peas, defrosted
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup minced purple onion
1/2 cup olive oil
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 cup black olives, preferably Kalamata or Alfonso


Boil scallops and shrimp in boiling salted water for 1 minutes. Boil the squid and tentacles for 3 or 3  minutes. Then cut squid body in 1 inch rings. Be sure to use the squid tentacles! Cook pasta, drain. Mix all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with sherry mayonnaise or the basil purée. Top with black olives. Serves 4-6.

Sherry Mayonaise

1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 chup sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
2 cups corn oil
Combine egg, egg yolks, mustard, vinegar in processor. Season with salt and pepper and process 1 minute. With motor running, dribble oil in a steady stream. When done and thick, refrigerate.

Basil Purée
7 cups washed and dried fresh basil leaves
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Purée in a food processor, cover and refrigerate

Join Mary from One Perfect Bite and all the other participants in this fun series.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast

Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living

 - Ciao Chow Linda
Martha - Lines from Linderhof


  1. Glad this worked... the last post didn't come through for some reason.. poor Maida!
    Well, this one I agree with. I grew up with these ladies, cooking wise. The graphic style was as much a part of the book as the recipes. I still make so many things from the books which are TOTALLY FALLING APART!!! I think use was part of it but also I think they had a really bad binder. What is there is splattered and dog eared but I still smile when I see it. So many dinner parties began in those pages... so many great weekend feasts.

    I was so sad when she died... made me feel like a light had gone out.

    Great seafood salad... made it one weekend at a friends in the Hamptons and it was a big hit!

  2. This pasta salad looks absulutely gorgeous! What wonderful flavors. My mouth is watering...



  3. What a fabulous salad. Wish I could have some for lunch.

    And my grandmother told me once that if the recipe didn't have splatter or something on the page, it wasn't worth making twice. ;)

  4. My husband would absolutely love this, I have to make it for him.

  5. A wonderful tribute to a GREAT book and authors. It all looks so delicious, Barbara.

    Thanks for sharing...

  6. What a great and rich salad! I'm with you ... that cookbook was a constant resource during my early married years ... family celebrations always called for the stuffed mushrooms, dinner parties called for Cassoulet or Lemon Chicken or Stuffed Pork Loin and it is the first place I ever saw a recipe for Pavlova... I always felt 'accomplished' when one of those recipes turned out well! Thanks for the memories! great post!

  7. To this day, The Silver Palate Cookbook remains one of my favorites. I never tried this recipe, so I'm especially happy to see that you did. Looks decadent, perfect for a special occasion.

  8. This salad is so beautiful! I haven't eaten something like this in a long time (since I'm the only one in the house who would even come close to it,lol). It sounds awesome :D

  9. What a beautiful salad, Barbara!Wonderful for a dinner party

  10. Whenever I buy a cookbook from a second hand store, I always flip through to see if there are any "loved" pages, like the ones you describe. They always signify the best recipes! This one surely looks like a keeper. Seafood and pasta make a great combination- Love those tentacles! :)

  11. What a delicious looking salad. I love the flexibility of the dressings. I bet it keeps the salad interesting each time you make it. And thanks for the history. You definitely expanded what I know about these two fantastic ladies!

  12. Ooh. Love the little octopuses or squid! Thanks for sharing :)

  13. How sophisticated would I feel if served that salad? It's the perfect balance of fuss and simplicity.

  14. I wasn't aware of the McLaughlin factor but their cookbooks are treasures.

  15. This is a beautiful seafood salad, Barbara! It has been so interested to read about the lives of these wonderful 'game changers' in the food world.

  16. oh la la looks great and love your food and chef knowledge learn from you, thanks for being so kind and the baby congrats your a fun person

  17. i love everything about this salad, the seafood, the mayo, the basil sauce, gorgeous!!

  18. Wow more seafood! I am not usually a pasta salad person, but this might just convert me!

  19. i love so much sea food thanks for the sharing !!pierre

  20. the binding is torn, the back cover missing on my (very-stained and tattered) copy of THe Silver Palate cookbook---a long-time source of kitchen inspiration.
    stickiest page? sour cream coffee cake...

  21. Game changers they were too. I still love Chicken Marbella.

    Love the sherry mayonnaise Barbara. We use sherry in a lot of our cooking.

  22. I love your philosophy of finding the good recipes - the dirty pages, so true! This looks like an awesome dish, I love it!



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