Chef's Recipe

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Grilled Romaine with Marinated Vegetables

Make this colorful, flavorful salad even more festive by using blue, red, and/or green corn tortillas - homemade or purchased- for the crispy garnish. Grilling the romaine lettuce adds just a hint of smokiness, but if grilling is not an option, it can be made with raw romaine. The vegetables need to marinate for several hours.

Ingredients

Marinated Vegetables

  • 1 Medium jicama (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1 each red and green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced crosswise
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 medium jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaved removed from stems, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toasted Cumin Dressing

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 large egg yolk* (see “Using Raw Eggs” below)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds, toasted until fragrant (but not burnt) in a small, dry heavy skillet
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 jalapeño, deseeded, deveined, and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups olive oil blend or light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Corn Tortilla Strips

  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 (6 to 7 inch) store bought corn tortillas, each halves and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch strips
  • Salt

Grilled Romaine

  • 4 romaine hearts, cut in half length-wise while still attached to core
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic


Preparation

Marinated Vegetables

Combine the jicama, bell peppers, carrot, and cucumber in a large glass or ceramic bowl.

In a smaller glass or ceramic bowl, whisk together the lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and red onion. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Add just enough cilantro dressing to the vegetables to lightly coat them while gently tossing. Cover and allow them to marinate in the refrigerator for several hours, stirring occasionally.

Toasted Cumin Dressing

In a food processor, combine the lemon juice, egg yolks, garlic, cumin seeds, mustard and jalapeño. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream.

Slowly add the vinegar, stopping to taste from time to time until the desired acidity is reached (you may not need all the vinegar). Season with salt and pepper.

Using Raw Eggs*

You can eliminate the small risk of exposure to salmonella contamination in raw egg preparations by using pasteurized-on-the-shell eggs or pasteurized egg yolks, available in pourable cartons. Liquid whole eggs in the carton are pasteurized but contain a blend of egg whites and egg yolks, so they generally aren’t appropriate for recipes calling for yolks or whites specifically.

Corn Tortilla Strips

In a 10- or 12-inch frying pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F (do not allow the oil to smoke). Line a wire rack with paper towels.

When the oil is ready, add a handful or two of the tortilla strips, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and fry until golden, 30 to 45 seconds. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the strips to the prepared rack to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips, checking the oil temperature in between batches and adjusting the heat accordingly. (Strips can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.)

Grilled Romaine

Heat a grill (charcoal, gas or electric) to medium hot (when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the rack for 3 to 4 seconds). In a large mixing bowl combine the romaine, olive oil, and garlic.

Grill the romaine hearts, cut-sides down, on a lightly oiled grill rack until grill marks just appear, about 2 minutes. Return the romaine to the large mixing bowl. (Alternatively, grill the romaine in a hot, lightly oiled ridged grill pan over moderately high heat.)

To Serve

Toss the romaine with just enough cumin dressing to coat the leaves. Divide the romaine among serving plates. Arrange the marinated vegetables around the lettuce. Top the salad with the tortilla strips and serve immediately.

 

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