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“Char-donnay” Grilled Romaine Salad – Tobin James Cellars

April 1, 2022

“Char-donnay” Grilled Romaine Salad – Tobin James Cellars

By Proprietor, Claire SIlver

Wine Pairing: TOBIN JAMES CELLARS “James Gang Reserve” Chardonnay

Any wine lover will tell you that it’s tough to pair a salad with wine. Because it is. That’s what makes this wine-friendly salad so special. The touch of smokiness from grilling the romaine gives this salad the extra oomph it needs to pair beautifully with our crisp James Gang Reserve Chardonnay, which we age in a combination of light- and medium-charred French oak barrels. A char-grilled romaine salad is also a perfect addition to a hearty BBQ spread, especially since you’re firing up the grill anyway!

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (about 3 medium onions)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari 7 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads romaine lettuce, Grapeseed oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced or julienned radishes
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 crisp green apple, cored, peeled, and cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup fresh micro chervil or fresh dill fronds
Make the Dressing
Start by caramelizing the onions. In a large cast-iron frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and stir them gently to coat with the butter. Cook the onions, checking on them often and stirring to prevent scorching, until golden brown and delicious, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Put 1 cup of the caramelized onions in a blender and reserve the remainder for garnish. Add the mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, 3 Tbsp water, and 1⁄8 tsp pepper and blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. With the blender running on low speed, slowly add the olive oil and blend until the mixture emulsifies. If the vinaigrette is too thick, thin it with a little water and blend briefly to mix. Transfer to a covered container and chill for at least 10 minutes before using.
Make the Salad
Next, fire up the grill for direct grilling over high heat (or heat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat on the stovetop). Remove any wilted outer leaves from the romaine heads, then cut each head in half lengthwise. Brush the cut side of each half with grapeseed oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill the romaine, cut side down until just lightly charred, 30 to 60 seconds.
The leaves char quickly, so keep an eye on them. You want only a light char on the outside. You’re not trying to “cook” the lettuce. Each half should still be cold in the center.
Place a romaine half, cut side up, on each salad plate. Dress the halves with as much dressing as you like and garnish with the reserved caramelized onions, radishes, tomatoes, and apple, dividing them evenly. Finish with some micro chervil and serve with a nice chilled glass of “James Gang Reserve” Chardonnay.