Braised Romaine with Toasted Almonds and Moscatel Syrup
- TOTAL TIME: 35 MIN
- SERVINGS: 10
Romaine hearts have a wonderful cruncheven when cooked. Gerald Hirigoyen creates a dressing for them with lightly sweet Moscatel vinegar (made from Moscatel grapes) that's reduced to a honeyed syrup; white balsamic is a less expensive substitute.
- 2 ounces almonds, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 large romaine lettuce hearts, halved lengthwise
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Moscatel vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the almonds on a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until golden.
- In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook over moderate heat until lightly browned; scrape into a large roasting pan. Add the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the romaine, cut side down, and cook over high heat until browned. Transfer to the roasting pan, cut side up; season with salt and pepper. Add the stock to the skillet and bring to a boil; pour over the romaine. Cover with foil, transfer to the oven and braise for 10 minutes, until the romaine is crisp-tender. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with some of the braising liquid.
- In a skillet, boil the vinegar until reduced by half. Drizzle over the romaine, garnish with the almonds and cilantro; serve.