I've been recipe testing recently so haven't had a lot of opportunities to make some of our favorite dishes. But on Sunday evening we had dinner for four out on our balcony. It was a cool night and everything seemed to taste better eaten al fresco!
I made ricotta crostini topped with hazelnuts, pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes, blackberry lemonade to drink and a salad - soon to be a classic in your kitchen. I promise I'll post the lemonade recipe shortly but the salad deserves top billing.
This recipe comes from Canlis Restaurant in Seattle. We ate there this spring with my parents and grandparents. The restaurant is old-school in both menu and service - and set high above the city in a gorgeous zen-like haven. And even better, the restaurant's chef was just named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs.
Jet-lagged from the travelling but excited to be dining at such a beautiful restaurant, we eagerly anticipated sampling their famous salad. And it didn't disappoint! It's crunchy from the romaine and croutons and tangy from the lemony dressing and grated pecorino romano cheese. The scallions give the salad a bracing bite and the freshly chopped oregano and mint are refreshing.
I've made it twice - once with the coddled egg, croutons and bacon - and a second time without all three of these ingredients. It was memorable both times. The coddled egg is an extra step. So do it if you want, but it's not necessary.
The Canlis website specifies that the salad recipe has never been altered, but you should feel free to experiment - this recipe is more of a set of guidelines than anything else. If you like more mint, add more! And if you only have Parmesan cheese in the fridge? Use it instead of the pecorino. I used two romaine hearts for four people (one seems a little skimpy).
Two caveats: make sure to buy fresh oregano and your romaine should be absolutely dry - use the spinner - otherwise the wet leaves will dilute the dressing (and you don't want that!). I prefer serving the salad in one big bowl but you could certainly plate it as suggested.
Adapted from the Canlis website
2 heads Romaine hearts, cut into 1" pieces and thoroughly dried
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/2 cup very well done bacon, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon oregano leaves, chopped
1/2 cup croutons (optional - make your own)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 coddled egg (optional - pour boiling water into a cup and put a whole egg in the shell into the water, let sit for 1 minute)