Balthazar Salad

When we set out to devise a house salad that would reflect the restaurant, we decided to incorporate an ingredient for every letter in the word Balthazar. The Balthazar Salad was a hit, but we still don’t generally recommend designing food through word-play.

Recipe from The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson/Clarkson Potter, 2003.

Balthazar Salad

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    1 head of romaine lettuce 1 Hass avocado
    1/4 pound mche 1 lemon, halved
    1 head of frise 1 roasted beet (see Note), julienned
    1 head of radicchio Zest of 1 lemon, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
    1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, preferably on a mandoline 3 3slices of brioche, toasted and then pulsed in a food processor to a fine crumb
    1/4 pound radishes, thinly sliced 1/2 teaspoon salt (for Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette)
    1/2 pound asparagus 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (for Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette)
    1/4 pound haricots verts Juice of 2 lemons (for Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette)
    1 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (for Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette)
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup white truffle oil (for Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette)
    1/4 pound ricotta salata


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    • 1

      Trim, wash, and spin the romaine, mâche, frisée, and radicchio. Toss together in a large bowl and add the sliced fennel and sliced radishes. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.

    • 2

      Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl and bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cut away the woody base of the asparagus spears. With a vegetable peeler, trim the tough outer stem. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes, until tender. Remove with tongs to the ice bath, and add the haricots verts to the still-boiling water. Again, cook for 8 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath to refresh. Drain the asparagus and the haricots verts and add to the lettuces along with the salt and pepper.

    • 3

      Toss gently by hand to combine, dress with the Lemon–Truffle Vinaigrette, and toss again.

    • 4

      Slice the ricotta salata in 1⁄8-inch slices. Halve and peel the avocado and slice each half as thinly as possible. Squeeze the lemon over the slices to prevent them from discoloring.

    • 5

      To assemble the salad, set out 6 medium bowls. Divide the dressed lettuces and vegetables among the bowls. Top with 1 slice of ricotta salata, 2 slices of avocado, and a small bundle of julienned beet. Sprinkle with lemon zest and brioche bread crumbs.


    Roasted Beets
    Spread a bit of olive oil on a small plate. Roll each beet in the oil and wrap individually in aluminum foil along with a sprig of thyme. Bake until tender, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours, until soft and yielding when pierced with the tip of a knife. Cool, remove the skins, and slice as directed by recipe. The beets can be stored in the refrigerator, in their foil packets, until needed.

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