Baby Romaine Salad with Creamy Pistachio Dressing

~from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

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 crème 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 crème 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.  

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