One of the best things about participating in Food Network Summer & Fall Fests this year is that it’s given me an excuse to unearth recipes I would have otherwise relegated to the daily happenings of instagram.
This dish in particular is something I’ve made 3 or 4 times for catering events. During the summer, I grilled the romaine to give it an extra earthiness. I’ve used basil vinaigrette, or a combination of herbs. But I love this roasted garlic option, which ends up thick and indulgent like a Caesar dressing, and is just the right kind of thing to slather all over a wedge salad like this one. The roasted garlic is a little hard to place in this context, so it gives the dressing a certain je ne sais quoi.
Anyhoo, today the fest-ers are dealing with lettuce, so I wanted to share this year-round center piece salad with you. If you want to add a punch of color and sexy-up your family-style dinner buffet, this is your hot ticket. Just don’t tell any of my clients how easy it is to make.
After all that heavy British food on last night’s Chef Race episode – not to mention, the dick and ball commentary – a nice salad is just the kind of thing I need to bounce back from middle America.What did you guys think? Stay tuned for my recap later this week. My mind is already awash in innuendos.
Romaine with Beets, Pistachios, and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- 3 hearts of romaine
- 1 pound mixed roasted beets skins removed
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- ¼ cup loosely packed basil leaves coarsely torn
- ½ cup roasted garlic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- Trim the base of the romaine hearts, then cut them lengthwise in half. You will have two large wedges.
- Cut the beets in half lengthwise, then angle your knife to slice the halves into ¼-thick wedges.
- Arrange the romaine hearts on a platter. Carefully scatter the roasted beets over the center of the wedges, followed by the pistachios and the basil leaves. Right before you’re ready to serve, drizzle the vinaigrette over the top. Season with salt and pepper and serve family-style.
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the outer layers from the head of garlic so the individual cloves are exposed. Chop off the top ¼ inch of the head so you can see the raw cloves within their skins.
- Place on a 9×13 sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap up so the packet is tightly sealed. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until the cloves are soft to the touch. Remove from the foil packet and allow to cool.
- When cool enough to touch, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and add to a food processor. Puree the garlic clove along with the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and ⅓ cup olive oil. Taste and add more olive oil as necessary to reach the consistency you like. This should be a thick dressing – much like Caesar.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.