Sunday, January 4, 2009

Salad Days in the New Year

By Pat Tanner

I seem to have once again fallen victim to both the excesses of holiday eating and the need for feel-good New Year’s resolutions, so I find myself drawn to salads. Which is why I’ve gleaned the interesting recipes below from some of the Garden State’s finest practitioners.

Grilled Romaine Salad
Michael Carrino, Chef/Owner, Restaurant Passionne, Montclair

2 heads romaine lettuce, split in half
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Place all ingredients into a large zip-tight bag and allow to marinate about an hour, tossing around every few minutes. Heat grill (or broiler) to high and place the four pieces of romaine on the grill (or broiler pan) making sure they do not touch. Grill for about 1 minute then turn and grill for another 2 minutes.

Sherry Vinaigrette for a Crowd
Kevin Sbraga, Executive Chef, Rat’s Restaurant, Hamilton

1 cup sherry vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
2 cups grape seed oil, or other mild oil (such as canola or safflower)
Salt and pepper

Blend the vinegar, shallot, and mustard in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the two oils until mixture is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: Recipe may be scaled down, retaining a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Toss with mixed greens.

Membrillo Vinaigrette
Inspired by Will Mooney, Chef/owner, Brothers Moon, Hopewell

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Scant 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons membrillo (quince paste)
Salt and pepper

Combine first three ingredients in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over a salad composed of arugula, sliced Granny Smith apples, toasted almonds, and Manchego cheese. Makes enough for 4 servings.

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