recipe: Simple Tossed Salad with Grilled Artichokes and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
Last week I got my lettuces in the ground and have, consequently, been craving big tossed salads. Alas, the plants are too small for the humongous bowl I desire, so I must purchase the greens. I'm also looking for ways to accessorize them, and noticed a line of vacuum- packed (8-ounce) packages of fresh artichoke hearts at Hiller's and had to try them.
They offer several varieties of the Monterey Artihearts, and I selected the grilled version. I'm delighted to report we found them absolutely delicious, kicking up the notch of an everyday salad exponentially. The list of ingredients on the label are California artichokes, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and balsamic.
They also included "natural smoke flavor." I'm not sure what that means — dare I google? — but they were tasty little devils (that "natural smoke" tasted pretty darn natural), and I plan to incorporate them in other recipes — grilled pizza, pastas and crostini come to mind. Tossing them with a quick chicken or shrimp sautÃ© would be lovely as well.
The artichokes at local groceries are looking plumply delicious. If you've the time, you could always grill them yourselves, using real wood smoke. Maybe tomorrow.
Yield: 2-3 main course, full-plate servings
Time: 15 minutes
8 cups washed (torn or chopped) lettuce leaves
6-8 cocktail tomatoes (1-2-inch diameter)
3 seedless baby cucumbers
6 button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup halved, pitted kalamata olives
8 ounces grilled artichoke hearts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1. Combine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, olives and artichoke hearts.
2. Make a vinaigrette by whisking together oil, vinegar and garlic. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss with salad and serve.