Friday, September 28, 2012

Asian Dressing and Grilled Romaine

Guest Post by Renee Dobbs

Oh the simple pleasure of homemade salad dressings. And a simple salad too. Some salads are elaborate with lots of ingredients and layers of toppings. Every now and then a basic one is in order. It was something I was craving recently and an Asian dressing with grilled romaine fit the bill. Easy, tasty, and goes well with lots of main dishes.

What sparked my craving was a dinner I recently had at a Thai restaurant. They served a house dressing on their salad different than the usual peanut dressing. It was more ginger based but not so much like one at a Japanese restaurant. I knew I had to re-create it at home. I investigated Asian dressings and wound up with a big experiment in my kitchen. You should have seen my kitchen counter – all the ingredients set out and batches of dressings were made.

After a few attempts I discovered this combination. Light, fresh, and just what I was wanting. It went wonderfully with grilled romaine  and I am sure it would be a great marinade too. Grilling romaine is very easy. The key is not to leave it on the grill for too long or it will get soggy and wilted. Only a couple of minutes to get the char and smoky flavor is all that is needed.

The salad was so good I ate it with my dinner and then made it again for lunch the next day. I have dressing leftover in my refrigerator and I cannot wait to use it for a marinade.

Asian Dressing and Grilled Romaine

For the dressing:
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup rice vinegar
½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
¾ cup oil (canola, extra light olive, or avocado)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Juice from ½ lime

For the grilled romaine and salad:
Romaine lettuce (not chopped)
Olive oil
Thinly sliced green onions

For the dressing:
Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until combined. Transfer to a salad dressing container. Serve and enjoy.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow to get to room temperature before using. Shake to combine (will separate). Dressing can also be used as a marinade.

For the grilled romaine and salad:
Cut romaine lettuce in half lengthwise. Brush cut side with olive oil. Place cut side directly on the grate of a grill over medium heat. Grill for a minute or two until charred. Chop grilled lettuce if desired. Drizzle lettuce with Asian dressing. Garnish with sliced green onions.