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