Cook the Book: Market Salad

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

The Market Salad at Bruce and Eric Bromberg's Blue Ribbon is one of my favorite salads in New York City. It's a serious salad, and one that's always made me think of a certain episode of Seinfeld, remember? But references to sitcoms aside, the Market Salad from Bromberg Bros.Blue Ribbon Cookbook is one that deserves a mention.

What I really love about this salad is that, while it's composed of more elements than you can count on two hands, each component is given the right treatment. Beets are roasted, asparagus stalks are blanched crisp-tender, eggs are hard-boiled, and each raw vegetable is cut into the shape that suits it best. It's the ideal mixture of raw, cooked, and preserved ingredients.

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I've had the Market Salad several times at Blue Ribbon, but I had never really stopped to think about the amount of effort that went into the dish before I attempted to replicate it at home. As is the case with many of the recipes in the Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook this is a recipe that involves a few sub-recipes and some advanced planning. Once all of the items are prepared, the salad is dressed with the Bromberg Brothers' House Vinaigrette, which is a recipe that any home salad dresser would benefit from trying. Most of the ingredients are standard (olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard), but throwing in some dried thyme and oregano gives this dressing a nice little herbaceous kick.

Bagged salad mixes and bottled dressing have become the norm, and, yes, they make it easy to get in the greens. But once you've put together a beautifully composed salad like this one, the difference is striking. This is the kind of salad that makes eating your greens and vegetables a joy rather than a chore.

Win Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Cookbook

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Cook the Book: Market Salad

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About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • 1 medium beet, trimmed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 asparagus stalks
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce (from about 2 heads)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated (1 cup)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cubed (3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 3/4 cup chopped Grilled Red Onions (recipe follows)
  • 4 marinated artichoke hearts
  • House Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Small pinch of dried oregano
  • Small pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  2. 2

    Wrap the beet tightly in aluminum foil and place the foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the beet is fork, about 1 hour. Cool, then slip off the skin, and cut the beat into cubes.

  3. 3

    Meanwhile, place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover by 1 inch; bring the water to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat. Cover the pot for 3 minutes. Uncover and let the eggs cool in the water. Peel and halve lengthwise.

  4. 4

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Boil the asparagus until crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Plunge immediately in the ice water; drain well.

  5. 5

    Divide the romaine among 4 dinner plates. Scatter the beets, carrot, tomato, cucumber, olives, and onions over the romaine (like a pizza pie). Cross two asparagus stalks over the top of each salad. Top each with two egg halves and a marinated artichoke heart. Drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

  6. 6

    Grilled Red Onions

  7. 7

    - makes about 1 cup -

  8. 8

    Preheat the broiler.

  9. 9

    Roughly chop the onions and toss with the olive oil. Spread the onions onto a rimmed baking sheet and broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. The onions will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 weeks.

  10. 10

    House Vinaigrette

  11. 11

    - makes about 2 cups -

  12. 12

    In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, oregano, and thyme until the salt dissolves. Whisk in the mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 month.

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