Grilled Romaine and Asparagus Salad with Pinenut Dressing
Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, recipe number two, was inspired by a blog post of Heidi Swanson (of http://www.101cookbooks.com/). She creates wonderful vegetarian meals using very fresh and natural ingredients. Her salad was more of an asparagus-broccolini montage, but the pine nut dressing caught my eye. So here’s my version. First I made the dressing so the flavors would have a chance to meld. I combined a minced shallot, the zest and juice of a lemon, some sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and some roughly chopped pine nuts in a food processor and whirled it until I got a consistency half way between a vinaigrette and a creamy dressing.
If only you could taste that picture! Next I grilled the asparagus and romaine lettuce on the grill, and then chopped everything into 1 inch pieces and tossed with the dressing.
You could add other things to this salad – radishes, croutons, grilled chicken – but it’s also great on its own. The warm charred parts of the romaine contrast with the crispy cool pieces from the center of the head – it’s something you just have to try!
Grilled Romaine and Asparagus Salad with Pine Nut Dressing
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or more or less to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
3 heads romaine lettuce
24 asparagus spears, tough ends removed
extra virgin olive oil
Combine shallot, lemon zest and juice, and vinegar in food processor and whirl for about 30 seconds. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil, then add salt and pepper and pine nuts. Process until fairly smooth but a few pieces of pine nut are still visible, about 1 minute. Drizzle lettuce heads and asparagus with olive oil, then grill over medium high flame until nicely charred. Remove from heat and cut into one inch pieces. Toss with desired amount of dressing and serve immediately so that lettuce and asparagus are still warm.
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