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The best of the grill on a salad

July 27, 2009

I love when just a few ingredients treated properly can make such a tasty dish in a short amount of time. I have been eating a little too heavy lately so we needed to lighten things up a bit. I decided to make the family a grilled artichoke and IMG_0607shitake mushroom salad with shaved Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette.

I love the full vegetable flavor and rich creamy texture of artichokes. They have a brightness about them but can also be substantial, the star ingredient. I bought baby artichokes and cleaned them (pull off half the hard leaves; cut off the top, use a vegetable peeler to clean the stem). I boiled them first to make them tender and then tossed them in olive oil salt and pepper to grill them. The result was creamy and juicy but with the full flavor of the grill. My daughter sautéed the shitakes until golden and tender. We used a mix green mixture from the farmers market that includes several herbs as well as many baby greens. The baby greens have a stronger flavor that I was in the mood for. The dressing was lemon juice, olive oil and mustard. The dressing is not the star in this dish. It is there to add moisture and acidity.

The result was a light, fresh salad that delivered huge grill flavor. The artichokes remained moist and creamy but with lovely grill marks. The mushrooms added nice texture with their slightly softened browned bodies. The herbs in the mixedIMG_0609 greens kept you guessing what flavor you were tasting but never overwhelmed the artichokes or mushrooms. The lemon dressing was light and bright and did a great job of cleansing the palate between each bite. The key is to put the right amount of dressing. My wife says I always tend to put too much. I have found that all you need is about 1 ½ oz of vinaigrette for three servings of salad. Of course the consistency of the dressing will affect how much you put. At the end of the day you want the greens coated enough so that they are not dry but not so much to make the greens collapse. They should stand proud holding the ingredients that have been place on them. I can not forget to give Parmesan the credit it deserves. It always adds that salty, nutty, mouth puckering finish that makes everything better!  Enjoy!

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. emma permalink
    July 27, 2009 8:52 am

    Congratulations on making the finals. You know, you’re allowed to do the happy dance in your blog, we won’t think less of you. Votes in my family are about 50-50 because you’re just both so darn likable but you’re slightly ahead.

    In terms of who describes food the best, well, after the show last night I was scouring for ingredients to whip up a mousse and kicking myself for being out of biscotti.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      July 28, 2009 7:51 am

      Thankyou emma. I appreciate your thoughts and the support!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  2. Natalie permalink
    July 29, 2009 4:42 am

    Sort of off topic – I am going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks for business. Haven’t been there in about 6 years. If there is one place you would recommend I go to eat, what would it be? (not too pricey, please lol)

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      July 30, 2009 6:45 am

      Hello Natalie, how funny, I just posted a blog on an amazing place called Piperade. It is a little more $$ though. I would reccomend Beretta, 1199 Valencia St. in SF 415.695.1199. It is by far one of the best in SF. It is not expensive. It is a casual, fun place with killer cocktails and amazing small plates of food. Squid ink risotto with a gremolata (fine dust of lemon zest, parsley and galic), great pasta, great pizza, unique bruschettas. It is also in the very hip mission district so it is a fun place to be. If you call when you are on your way they will put you on the list so you don’t have to wait as long. Enjoy!! jeffrey 🙂

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