Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Baby Romaine Salad with Creamy Pistachio Dressing


Can it be August already? I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful summer!

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted our Gourmet Group of 5 couples.  It's always a challenge to come up with a delicious and unique menu from year to year as everyone loves to cook and the menus are always top-notch.  The host and hostess send each couple the entire menu with recipes. Each couple is assigned one recipe to prepare and bring to the dinner and the host and hostess provide the main course, a side dish and all the wine and beverages.


After the first course, which was a refreshing Spanish almond, cucumber and grape gazpacho, this delightful salad was served. Not too difficult to prepare, it was not only delicious but the baby romaine, or Little Gem lettuce, looked adorable on the plate.  The creamy pistachio dressing, toasted pistachios and sliced radishes added even more crunch and was a delightful combination of flavors.


I found the salad recipe in the cookbook "Taste and Technique" by Naomi Pomeroy, which was a birthday gift from a friend this past spring.  The cookbook is loaded with great recipes that I can't wait to try and I was delighted when I found this special salad recipe to add to our Gourmet Group menu!  I hope to bring you at least one or two more recipes from our gourmet menu soon!


So what else have I been doing since my last post?  Hosting our three grandsons numerous times for swimming and overnights...


Celebrating our anniversary at a wonderful seafood restaurant on the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee.  It was a lovely summer evening on the patio with a view to the west of the Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum and, to the east, of the inner Lake Michigan harbor...


And, of course, I've been enjoying my garden and all the sunny yellow blooms this year :)

Baby Romaine Salad with Creamy Pistachio Dressing


Serves 4

For the Vinaigrette:

3 teaspoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup raw, unsalted shelled pistachios (regular salted, shelled pistachios work fine but cut back on additional salt)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1-1/4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup aioli (mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise with 1 minced garlic clove and 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice)
3 tablespoons pistachio oil (optional)
1/3 cup crรจme fraiche or sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons minced tarragon
3 teaspoons minced chives
3 teaspoons minced flat-leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar

To make the vinaigrette:

Preheat the oven to 325F. Place the shallot in a small mixing bowl, cover with the vinegar. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and set aside to macerate for about 10 minutes.

Spread the pistachios on a small baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Roughly chop the pistachios and divide them into two batches of 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the macerated shallot and its liquid, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, the lemon zest and juice, the aioli, the pistachio oil, and the crรจme fraiche or sour cream.

At this point, the salad can be refrigerated until ready to use.

Before serving, add the minced herbs and whisk again. Taste and season with pepper and sugar, if necessary.

For the Salad:

2 large or 4 small heads Little Gem Lettuce (regular romaine would also work using the pale, inner head)
2 radishes
Flaky finishing salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the Salad:

Trim off the base of each lettuce leaving the head intact. Cut each head of lettuce in half vertically and place in a large bowl of water to clean thoroughly. Drain on paper towels and spin out any remaining water in a salad spinner.

Slice the radishes thinly and place in a bowl of ice water. Store in refrigerator. Dry well with paper toweling before serving.

To serve, stir 1/2 cup of the chopped pistachios into the vinaigrette. Arrange lettuces on plates and spoon the vinaigrette equally over each lettuce half. Top with the radish slices, remaining chopped pistachios.  Add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and some freshly ground pepper and serve.


Adapted from Taste and Technique by Naomi Pomeroy.  

33 comments:

  1. I love the Little Gem Romaines because they are perfect for two! I buy them in the bag at Costco. Can't wait to try this salad with them! Love those grandkids! Can I come swimming too?

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    1. I've never seen them at Costco, Abbe! I'll be sure to ask on my next visit. Thank you! Yes, you can come for a swim any time :)

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  2. what lovely salad!! I love pistacchios! and the boys are lovely :)

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    1. Thank you, Glorio! Pistachios are a favorite of mine also and the boys are loves ♥

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  3. Yum! I never thought of serving the baby romaines like this. Great idea!! The dressing sounds wonderful too!

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  4. That is one delicious looking salad. I love all those pistachios you used. The grandsons are just adorable and your flowers are beautiful. Glad to see you're enjoying the summer.

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    1. You can never have too many pistachios, grandson love or flowers :) Thanks, Linda!

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  5. How very pretty!I just bought pistachio oil..have not seen the baby romaines❤️๐Ÿ˜ŠSo cute!As are the boys..the yellows and that beautiful view Susan.I am glad to see you are enjoying summer too๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

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    1. Abbe said she finds them at Costco! I've not seen them at our store but find them at a store called Meijers here. Other than the rain, it's been a wonderful summer so far. My big tomatoes are finally ripening! Yay!

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  6. Looks refreshing and delicious-- the flavors are a winning combination!๐Ÿฅ—๐Ÿฅ—

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    1. Thank you, Michael! It was a great combo :) Have a lovely weekend and enjoy that adorable pup!

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  7. How lovely pics Susan ! The salad is perfect for this warm period (here is quite hot) !The
    cute boys grows very fast, hugs & kisses from Trieste

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    1. Thank you, Chiara. They have grown so quickly it seems. We haven't had too many very hot days, thankfully. A kiss ♥

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  8. You have me at that pistachio dressing! Beautiful flowers from your garden, Susan.

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    1. Thank you, Angie. Glad you can't see all of the weeds :) Have a wonderful weekend!

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  9. That pistachio dressing is happening in my house soon! I have pistachios ready to go so thanks so much. What a lovely anniversary dinner location - so pretty! Congratulations :) Also love the photos of your grandsons enjoying the pool and those gorgeous yellow blooms. You certainly have a green thumb! Happy August Susan :)

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    1. Great! I hope you enjoy it, Tricia. I can't believe they'll be back in school before too long :( Thanks so much ♥

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  10. Absolutely gorgeous! A gourmet take on the traditional wedge salad, perhaps. Love your photos. I have one grand daughter, and am about to have a grand son - the first boy in our family! Excited!

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    1. Thank you Mimi! Congratulations on your future grandson. They definitely play differently than girls do :)

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  11. Oh I love everything about this salad and the dressing sounds divine. Can't believe how big your grandkids are getting, mine are 3, 7 and 11, time flies;)

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    1. It is divine and one of my favorite new recipes, Cheri! We're just behind you in ages :) Fun times but I wish the times would slow down just a big though! Have a great weekend!

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  12. What a lovely salad! I will have to make it. Your Grands are darling. What a pretty area on Lake Michigan. I grew up on the other side of it. Glad you are enjoying your summer Susan.

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    1. If you like pistachios and radishes you will love it, Penny! Ha, we were almost neightbors ;) You got the sunsets though! We have seen some beautiful moon rises over the lake. It's a beautiful place in the summer.

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  13. Boy Sue you have all the fun! Love this salad dressing and salad idea- yummy!
    What a beautiful location for your anniversary, congrats ! And your grandsons are adorable! And lovely blooms as well - Happy August !'
    Xoxo

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    1. Well, let's say some of the fun :) It's one of the prettiest views while dining on the Lake Michigan shore. I can't believe it's August already! Thank you, ladies ♥

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  14. I always look forward to your group dinners! The salad sounds wonderful! Your handsome grandsons are getting so big. ❤️

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  15. Those times of getting together sound wonderful. This pistachio dressing piqued my interest...pretty, too. I don't believe that I have ever seen the lettuce described.

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    1. Thank you, Vee! Tried visiting you lately but I see your blog is closed :(

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  16. You are having a great summer! August is here and I am ready for fall weather. We enjoy a cooking club and love getting together with friends and enjoying a themed meal.

    Velva

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    1. We are! Not quite ready for fall here yet as our summer has been so rainy. Fingers crossed for a drier September :) Cooking clubs are great, aren't they!

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  17. Happy anniversary Susan! What a beautiful place to celebrate! I love your salad! It is the perfect summer meal!

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