Author Notes: I saw a recipe for grilled romaine with green harissa (yes, green harissa!) in the MIX magazine put out by the Oregonian. I was inspired to create this salad based on that recipe and my favorite summer sandwich (BaconLettuceAvocadoTomato.) The char on the romaine makes up for the lack of toast. I used Shirley Corriher's technique for making mayo to make the avocado aioli (aka guacamaioli.) - hardlikearmour
Makes 4 side salads or 2 main course salads
Guacamaioli (makes about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium to large clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon Diamond kosher salt (or 3/4 t Mortons)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus additional to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons grapeseed (or canola) oil
- 1 small Hass avocado
- Mince garlic, then sprinkle with salt. Using the flat side of a chef's knife scrape the garlic and salt back and forth on the cutting board to form a paste. Transfer the paste to a blender. Set a strainer atop the blender.
- Have a bowl of ice water ready that a small skillet will fit in. In a small skillet thoroughly combine egg yolk, water, lemon juice, and sugar. Heat over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens and the pesky bits of white that always seem to cling to the yolk become somewhat opaque. Place the bottom of the skillet in the ice water to stop the cooking then strain the mixture into the blender. Pulse a couple of times to mix, then let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Start blender, then gradually add the oil in a very fine drizzle to the mixture. It should take at least a minute or so. Scrape down the sides of the blender. Remove the flesh from the avocado and add it to the blender. Pulse several times then blend until smooth, scraping the sides once or twice. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. The mixture should be like mayo in texture.
- Transfer to a storage container. There will be enough for several salads, or use in place of mayo on a sandwich or elsewhere.
Grilled Romaine Salad
- 2 slices thick cut bacon
- 2 hearts of romaine
- 8 to 10 grape or cherry tomatoes
- grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup guacamaioli
- freshly ground black pepper
- Turn grill on to high. (If using a charcoal grill set it up for direct heat on one side, and indirect on the other.)
- Place bacon in a cold skillet and heat over medium until crisp, flipping bacon occasionally. Transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate and set aside. (If you're hungry you may eat 1/2 slice of the bacon as a cook's reward.)
- While bacon is cooking trim discolored sliver off the base of the romaine hearts. Cut the core in half lengthwise (it extends about 1/4 of the length of the head) then gently pry the romaine in half. Remove any ragged and overly floppy leaves. Rinse the romaine well, give it a shake, and stand it upright (leaning against a bowl or in your dish rack) on paper towels or in the sink to drain for several minutes.
- Cut the tomatoes in half (or quarters if they are large.) Set aside. Place guacamaioli in a small bowl. Adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time, whisk until it becomes a thick, pourable consistency.
- Brush the romaine lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn half of the grill off. Place cut side down on the grill with the core at the hottest area. Once starting to char (about 60-90 seconds), flip to the uncut side keeping the core hottest. Once starting to char (about 60-90 seconds), flip it again this time moving it to the unheated area of the grill. Put the cover on the grill, and allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the romaine is softened/wilted, but the ribs still retain some crunch.
- Arrange the romaine on a platter or individual plates as desired. Grind some pepper over the romaine. Drizzle with the guacamaioli. Scatter the tomatoes and crumble the bacon over top. Serve immediately.