Romaine, Fennel, and Clementine Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

This recipe is similar to the delightful salad served at Magic Pan crepe restaurants that were popular during the 80s. In our version, we have added fresh fennel bulb which adds a delectable crunch to the salad and we’ve replaced the canned mandarin oranges with fresh seedless clementine segments.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad
1/4 cup slivered almonds
4 green onions, chopped (white and green leaves)
1/2 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced (optional but nice)

1 medium head romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into bite sized pieces (or salad mix of your choice)
1 cup fresh clementine segments, removing any white fibrous parts

Dressing
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon tarragon, dried
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup white tarragon vinegar
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

Toast almonds in skillet over low heat, shaking constantly, until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Set aside.

Place salad greens, green onions, fennel, and clementine segments in large mixing bowl.

For the dressing, place all ingredients in blender and process until creamy and emulsified.

Pour enough salad dressing over salad greens to lightly coat lettuce greens and toss gently. Plate on chilled salad plates and garnish with toasted almonds. Store any remaining dressing in refrigerator.

YIELD: Serves 4

Fried Green Tomatoes with Herb Mayonnaise

We serve these as a snack at Bantam in the late spring. Unripe, green tomatoes are very abundant right now as farmers and gardeners thin out their tomato plants. The unripe cherry tomatoes get pickled and the full size tomatoes get fried. It’s super easy, although the herb mayonnaise may be a little harder.

INGREDIENTS:

For the mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1 lemon
A small clove of garlic pounded in a mortar or smashed up with the side of your knife
1 cup olive oil
A handful of chopped, soft herbs (soft like, basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, what ever you like)
Salt and chili pepper

METHOD:

Whisk the yolk with the garlic, a little salt, lemon juice, and using a ladle, slowly add the olive oil while whisking. You are trying to form an emulsion, binding the protein of the egg with the fat of the oil; if they do not want to bind, you will have to convince them by quickly whisking and slowly drizzling —after a few ounces the mixture should become yellow and thick, continue to add oil until you have reached your desired consistency then add your chopped herbs, taste and season.

For the tomatoes:
4 unripe green tomatoes
1 cup all purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
A few cups of neutral oil for frying, depending on the size of your pan
Salt and pepper

METHOD:

Slice the tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices, season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Prepare your breading dishes, one bowl each for flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.

Put the oil in a pan — it should be about 2 inches deep, turn on a low flame. Coat the sliced tomatoes in flour then dip into the egg and finally the breadcrumbs; they should be evenly coated in crumbs.

When the oil is hot  (about 325°-350°F), carefully fry the tomatoes until golden brown. With a spatula, lift out tomatoes and place on a tray with a brown paper bag or paper towels and season with a little more salt.

Serve with the herb mayonnaise.