Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Romaine Hearts with Dijon Caper Cider Vinaigrette and Garni

     A Simple Light Summer Salad!
     This is a busy looking salad that has a combination of light contrasting flavors.  The toasted pine nuts, egg and tomato add enough nutritional value to qualify today's salad creation as a light lunch.
     Not all cider vinegar is created equal.  Some of the bulk brands have a harsh sharp flavor.  Local small production brands of cider vinegar often are a better product.
     Capers have a strong brine flavor if they are not rinsed.  Briefly rinsing capers under warm water makes them much more palatable.  Soaking capers in water for 1 hour will yield an even mellower flavor.

     Pine Nuts Preparation:  
     Lightly toast 1 1/2 tablespoons of pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Shake the pan often, so the pine nuts toast evenly.
     Place the pine nuts in a container.

     Dijon Caper Cider Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.  (Enough for 1 large salad.)  
     This vinaigrette should be slightly in the acidic side, so choose the best apple cider vinegar that is available!
     Pomace Olive Oil has a very mild flavor that is almost neutral.  Use canola oil or vegetable oil (soy oil) if the olive oil tastes too strong.   
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of rinsed capers.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.  (To taste.)
     Step 2:  Stir the ingredients together.
     Let the flavors meld for 5 minutes.
     Step 3:  Slowly add 3 1/2 tablespoons of pomace olive oil while gently whisking to create a loose thin vinaigrette emulsion.
     Set the vinaigrette aside and stir before serving.  

     Romaine Hearts with Dijon Caper Cider Vinaigrette and Garni:
     This recipe yields 1 large salad portion.  
     Step 1:  Cut a romaine heart into long thin wedge strips.  Cut enough romaine hearts for a fairly large portion of salad.
     Place the romaine heart strips in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Dijon Caper Cider Vinaigrette.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Stack the thin romaine heart strips on the center of a plate.
     Sprinkle 1/3 cup of chopped tomato over the lettuce.
     Sprinkle 1 chopped hard boiled egg over the lettuce.
     Step 3:  Spoon a small portion of the Dijon Caper Cider Vinaigrette the salad and onto the plate.
     Step 4:  Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the salad.
     Sprinkle 1 thin bias sliced green onion over the salad.

     Salad presentation styles like this are outdated by today's standards, but it was not long ago that this was a popular way to present a house salad in a restaurant.  This simple salad looks busy, yet the flavors go well together.

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