Romaine Salad w/Grapes, Ricotta Salata & Toasted Almonds

prepared by and photo by Emily S. Downs

A salad that helps your skin keep that youthful glow? You betchya!
Romaine: *6 leaves provide more than 100% of your DV(daily value) of Vitamin A, which revitalizes skin by increasing cell turnover. The mineral potassium in romaine gives skin a refreshing boost of nutrients and oxygen by improving circulation.

Almonds: *Eating a handful of almonds everyday boosts levels of Vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for skin health.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: *This healthy fat contains essential fatty acids that help skin resist UV damage. EFAs are also part of the cell membranes that help hold in moisture. The body can’t synthesize EFAs, so consume about 1 tablespoon of olive oil daily to keep skin supple.

Grapes: **(black/red) contain antioxidants that are known to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging.

Size: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large head Romaine lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and dried
1 small red onion, sliced paper-thin, soaked in ice water for 30 minutes (to remove bitterness), drained, and dried
1/2 lb seedless black or red grapes, washed and cut in half
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 lb ricotta salata, thinly sliced

Directions:

Combine vinegar, water, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped mint in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.

Strain the vinegar into a small bowl and discard the mint. Add the shallot. Whisk in the oil in a thin, steady stream, Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the Romaine leaves in a large bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup mint, the red onion, and grapes. Add the vinaigrette and toss well. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the salad on chilled plates, top with the toasted almonds and slices of ricotta salata, and serve.

*http://www.today.com/id/36273089/ns/today-today_health/t/foods-younger-looking-supple-skin/#.UiTPSODCAu8
**http://www.aarp.org/food/diet-nutrition/info-11-2010/eat-to-stay-young.2.html


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Author: Emily Sarah Downs

Cuisine Coordinator, Tips From Town, Ridgewood, NJ

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