Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Spago Salad

This is from Wolfgang Puck.
Now I'm hungry!
I cannot imagine why anyone would eat pine nuts, but to each his own.


Serves 4

1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, about 1/2 pound, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely diced peeled and seeded cucumber
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

16 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half horizontally
2 tablespoons safflower oil
1 head romaine lettuce hearts, torn into bite-sized pieces
4 cups mixed baby lettuces, washed and dried
1/2 each red and yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch squares
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, quartered, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup yellow pear and red cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1/2 pound good-quality feta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Greek Salad Dressing (recipe follows)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shelled pine nuts, toasted in a small dry skillet over low heat until golden, 3 to 4 minutes
Fresh dill sprigs, for garnish

First, prepare the Caramelized Onion: In a medium skillet or saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook 1 minute longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, cool, cover, and refrigerate until needed.

Next, prepare the Shrimp Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, cucumber, onion, dill, and garlic. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare the salad, first cook the shrimp. In a large saute pan, heat the safflower oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute, stirring continuously, until they turn pink and are cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the romaine, baby lettuces, Caramelized Onions, bell peppers, olives, cucumber, and tomatoes. Using the large holes on a hand-held grater, grate in the feta. Add the Parmesan and the 1 cup Greek Salad Dressing. Toss until well coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide and mound onto 4 chilled salad plates.

In a medium bowl, toss together the shrimp and Shrimp Dressing. Arrange 8 shrimp halves on each salad mound. Top with pine nuts and garnish with dill sprigs.

Makes 2-1/2 cups
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sugar, or to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, dill, parsley, thyme, salt, and white pepper.
Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the oil to form a smooth emulsion. Season to taste with sugar.
Refrigerate in a covered container. Whisk again before use.


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