Q • I would like the recipe for the Moroccan Pasta Salad served at Café Madeleine at the Piper Palm House on Mother’s Day last year. It has bowtie pasta, green olives and dried fruit; the dressing is outstanding. — Lea Ann Baker, Creve Coeur
A • The Piper Palm House’s tall, stately windows stream light onto a lush tropical garden. The building was once Henry Shaw’s greenhouse; it’s located in Tower Grove Park. Inside, Café Madeleine is open for special events and Sunday brunch where diners find made-to-order omelets, biscuits and gravy, and in-house smoked salmon; a selection of fresh salads; plus house-made pastries, including the restaurant’s signature sweet, shell-shaped French cookies called “madeleines.”
The salads vary from week to week, depending on what’s in season and what captures the chefs’ imaginations, says Greg Ziegenfuss, executive chef at Butler’s Pantry, the full-service catering company with exclusive arrangements for food preparation at the Piper Palm House plus other St. Louis venues such as Bixby’s at the Missouri History Museum and the just-restored Palladium St. Louis, once the laundry for City Hospital. In a typical January and February, Ziegenfuss says, salads might well feature local greens, beets and Brussels sprouts but in 2013, Café Madeleine will serve Moroccan Pasta Salad, along with other seasonal salads, each Sunday in January when it celebrates the restaurant’s 10th anniversary.
Moroccan Pasta Salad is savory, not sweet, with plenty of warm, not hot, spices and a balance of salty olives, sweet dried fruit and wet, crunchy vegetables. For home cooks who’d like to re-create the salad, Ziegenfuss offers a quick tip. Slice the onions as thinly as you can, then “cook” them in a little lemon juice before mixing with cooked pasta and other ingredients. “This makes the onion almost sweet, not sharp. You don’t want it to overpower.”
See the recipe here.
Piper Palm House at Tower Grove Park
4256 Magnolia Avenue