Saturday, September 12, 2009

Radloff Salad with a Twist

In my July post "BBQ, Overachiever Style" I gave you the recipe for "Radloff Salad," the romaine salad with tomato, corn, and parmesan that I make in the summer. Today, while browsing through an old issue of Gourmet Magazine that Erik snagged from my parent's house, I came across a salad called "Romaine, Grilled Avocado, and Smoky Corn Salad with Chipotle-Caesar Dressing." See why I might find this appealing?

So, Erik and I were finally able to see Julie & Julia last night due to a ferry booking snafu that was actually my fault, although I tried to pass it off on the Steamship Authority. I thought we were on the 5, it turns out I booked for the 2:45, which we couldn't make, so we ended up on the 8. So we had a couple of hours to kill... After watching the movie I was so inspired by the food that I wanted something worthy of Julia, but was restricted to whatever we could find on a whirlwind tour through Trader Joe's before boarding the ferry. I ended up with brie, the last loaf of bread in the store, (which sadly wasn't a fresh baguette), and a Toblerone bar. Healthy, no? Tonight I thought I might make something truly Julia-esque, but my inner practical person said I should use what I had in the house first, before I went out and bought a duck or something...hence the aforementioned salad.

It was simple to make but very tasty. It uses the same components as my Radloff Salad but replaces tomatoes with avocados, (though I used both), and jazzes the dressing up with lime juice and chipotle chilis in adobo. Do you guys see as many recipes calling for chipotle chilis in adobo as I do? I always wrote those recipes off because I assumed these special chilis would be impossible to find on island, but not so. Easy to find, and actually cheap. A new outlook! My culinary world has been broadened! But back to the recipe at hand... The dressing was easy to whisk up, the grilling was easy (other than my gas tank running out, but that's unrelated). Toss it together and serve. I served grilled chicken breasts marinated in bottled Caribbean Jerk 30-minute marinade alongside, and voila, dinner! I was running kind of late though due to the grill running out of gas, so I didn't bother taking any photos, so just picture it ;)

Romaine, Grilled Avocado, and Smoky Corn Salad with Chipotle-Caesar Dressing (Gourmet Magazine
, June 2009)

* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
* 1 tsp minced garlic
* 1 TBS minced canned chipotle chilis in adobo
* 3 TBS vegetable oil
* 2 ears of corn, shucked
* 2 firm-ripe avocados, halved and pitted but not peeled
* 1 head romaine (1 lb), tough outer leaves discarded (if necessary--mine were just fine), quartered lenghtwise and then sliced crosswise into 1 inch pieces.
* 1 large tomato, cored and diced (if desired--I did!)

1. Preheat grill high or prepare charcoal grill for direct heat cooking (whatever that means. I use gas.)

2. Put grated parmesan in a medium bown and add EVOO in a slow stream, whisking. Whisk in lime juice, garlic, chipotles, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

3. Rub vegetable oil on the corn and the cut sides of the avocados and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill corn and avocados (cut side down). Cover the grill if you're using gas, for charcoal leave it open. Cook for 3-4 minutes (according to Gourmet--mine took longer, but I don't know how soon my grill ran out of gas) or until golden brown. Turn corn occasionally.

(If you are going to grill chicken or some other meat, throw it on as soon as you pull the veg, and the timing should work out nicely)

4. While the corn & avocado are cooling, dress the lettuce (and tomato, if using) in a salad bowl. Working carefully, slice the kernels off the corn cobs and peel and thinly slice the avocados. Serve the lettuce topped with the corn and avocado.

A final note on quantity: Gourmet says this recipe is a 6 side/4 main course serving recipe. I would disagree. I actually followed all of the quantities and found that Erik and I collectively ate 3/4 of the salad in addition to a chicken breast apeice. I think it would only serve 2 as a main course, unless you and your dinner mates are light eaters. Erik and I are not. Also, I only used half the dressing (and I actually measured things, which almost never happens), so either halve it or save the rest for another day.


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