Monday, April 3, 2017

Hearts of Romaine Lettuce with Lemon Dill Balsamic Dressing

     A Nice Light Wedge Salad!
     Romaine Lettuce Wedge Salads were popular in fine dining restaurants from the late 1800's through the 1930's.  Back in those days, a Romaine Wedge Salad was eaten by holding the stalk end of the Romaine Wedge with fingers, then swirling the romaine wedge in the dressing on the plate and taking bites of the leafy lettuce end.  The original Caesar Salad was a Romaine Wedge Salad and guests ate this salad the classic way with fingers.  
     In the mid to late 1900's, a knife and fork was used to eat a Romaine Wedge Salad instead of fingers.  In recent years, Romaine Wedge Salads have shrunk in size at fine dining restaurants with the advent of petite baby lettuce heads.  A split head of Baby Romaine that is less than 5" long that weighs about one ounce is a typical Lettuce Wedge Salad portion at a modern fine dining restaurant.  Cafés and casual restaurants still offer full portion size Romaine Wedge Salads that offer good dining value.
     Romaine Wedge Salads are usually plated with a composed presentation that is appealing to the eye.  The Romaine Wedges are the primary focal point and the garnish ingredients are arranged on the plate in a way that adds appeal.  A composed salad presentation is easy to do with a Romaine Wedge Salad.     
     A strong tasting Balsamic Vinaigrette has its place, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and many people are tired of the same old strong tasting Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Relatively few chefs make a mild Balsamic Vinegar flavored salad dressing and a "delicato" approach may appeal to guests that have lost interest in strong Balsamic Vinaigrette. This dressing uses just a dab of mayonnaise as a starting base for the finished product.  Today's salad dressing is toned down with mayonnaise, then lightened with lemon juice and fresh dill weed.  The Balsamic Vinegar flavor is present, yet it is not overpowering.    
     Lemon Dill Balsamic Dressing: 
     This recipe yields a little more than 1/2 cup.  (2 to 3 portions)
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill weed.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 2 pinches of coarsely ground black pepper.  (To taste.)
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.  (To taste.)
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Check the consistency.  The dressing should be a thin consistency that can barely coat a spoon.  If necessary, add a few drops of water to thin the dressing.
     Step 3:  Place the Lemon Dill Balsamic Dressing in a container.
     Chill for 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.  
     Hearts of Romaine Lettuce with Lemon Dill Balsamic Dressing: 
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     Step 1:  Select 1 large head of romaine lettuce.
     Pull the large outside leaves off till the Romaine Lettuce Heart remains.  (Save the large leaves for another recipe.)
     Trim the stalk end.
     Step 2:  Rinse the Romaine Heart in ice water.
     Drain off the water.  
     Air dry the Romaine Heart in a refrigerator over a drip pan.
     Step 3:  Cut the head of romaine in half lengthwise.
     Split 1 Romaine Heart Half lengthwise to create 2 quarter wedges.  (Save the other half of the Romaine Heart for a second salad portion or another recipe.)
     Step 4:  Place the 2 Romaine Quarter Wedges on the center of a plate.
     Garnish the plate with:
     - 6 thin Plum Tomato slices.
     - 2 Button Mushroom that are thin sliced.
     - Thin 1/2 lemon slices.
     - 2 boiled egg halves.  (9 minute boiled eggs are best!)
     Garnish the plate with dill weed sprigs.
     Step 5:  Pour about 1/4 cup of the Lemon Dill Balsamic Dressing over the Romaine Wedges.
     A Romaine Heart Salad with a crisp light lemon dill Balsamic Vinegar flavor! 

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