Sunday, April 10, 2016

Charred Romaine with Pancetta + Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

It's not too often you meet someone that you can completely sync with in life and in work. Michelle is one of my very best friends and she is by-far my favorite person to work with and travel with. We met as co-workers, in a place that was a super tough environment. I remember being on her interview team and thinking to myself, "If she doesn't get hired, these people are making a huge mistake". Luckily, my voice was heard and she was hired. We spent over a year together, in each other's offices every day, working on copy and talking about the future. Without realizing, it seemed as though we were inseparable. And though our lives look very different today, we still have that #dreamteam vibe flowin' on the regular. 

Just yesterday, she came to my side of the water and we sat at the most Seattle-like pub I could find in Issaquah. (It was the Black Duck btw. If you haven't been there, go now!) We sat in the sun, caught up on life-happenings and started stirring-up new plans for the future. The drinks, the conversation, and the food were all equally fantastic. 

Do you follow me on Instagram yet? If not, you totally should. More of this goodness over @karenleannkirsch 

So, speaking of the FOOD, I decided to go for a salad at the restaurant since I had already eaten really heavy all day. (See previous post ... training for STP makes you hungry... like woah) And maybe you're thinking, "Well, that's boring". But let me tell you friend, it is NOT! I had grilled romaine. Yes, they put it on a grill and served it up with a honey mustard vinaigrette. It knocked my socks off. So much so, I was determined to recreate it today for my lunch. But, this time, I knew I needed some protein and my own flair to it. Also, I don't have a grill. So for this recipe, I used my cast iron grill pan and just charred it. 

Grab that pancetta and get cookin' folks. It's time for that silly salad of yours to get a HOT new makeover. (Ha, see what I did there?)

for the salad:
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 of Romaine head, sliced lengthwise 
  • 1 handfull cherry tomatoes 
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese 
  • 1/2 cup cooked pancetta 
  • 1/4 honey mustard vinaigrette (see below)
for the vinaigrette
  • Scant 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced in half
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse mustard (I used Mustard & Co. Dill & Garlic)
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1.5 tablespoon white wine vinegar 
  • Salt & pepper to taste


for the salad:

Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook the pancetta until golden brown. Drain on a plate with a paper towel. Next, slice the cherry tomatoes thinly, and do your best to get the seeds out. Cut your lettuce head in half. Be sure to keep the stem ON. You'll need it to keep the leaves together. Then, get your grill pan HOT and lightly spritz it cooking spray. 

Now, drizzle just a teaspoon or so of olive oil over the cut side of the Romaine. After about 30 seconds, give or take, of heating up your grill pan, place the Romaine on the grill cut-side down. Grill for 2 minutes and then flip it. Grill for another 2 minutes. Take the lettuce out of the pan and place it onto a large plate. It should look slightly brown and wilted, but full of color. Then all you need to do is top it with the pancetta, feta, tomatoes and dressing. 

for the dressing:

Rub 1 clove of garlic all around the sides of a medium bowl. Then discard it. Next, measure out the honey, mustard, oil, and vinegar. Dash in some salt and pepper. And then whisk it all together. You can also place all of the ingredients into a small jar and shake everything together. I like to do this for easy storage afterwards. 

AND BOOM! There you have it. A wonderfully warm salad for a spring day. Try it out and let me know what you think. 

As always, eat well! Be well!


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