Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc. owns and operates Morton's of Chicago, a high-end steakhouse restaurant chain aimed at a business clientele, and Bertolini's Authentic Trattorias, a smaller chain offering Italian specialties in a casual dining atmosphere. At the end of 1998 Morton's Restaurant Group owned and operated 43 Morton's of Chicago and 12 Bertolini's units. All Morton's of Chicago restaurants were similar in style, concept, and decor, and were located in retail, hotel, commercial, and office building complexes in major metropolitan areas and urban centers. Catering primarily to business-oriented clients, Morton's of Chicago had an average per person check of about $65 in 1998. The Bertolini's restaurants offered white tablecloth service, with an average per person check of about $20. Morton's Restaurant Group also held a minority of stock in two other restaurant chains, Mick's and Peasant.




Grilled Asparagus

Morton's the Steakhouse Restaurant Recipe

Serves 6

2 large, thick red bell peppers
36 thick asparagus spears (about 1 1/2 pounds), as close to the same size as possible
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
6 tablespoons balsamic glaze or vinaigrette

Char the peppers over a grill or gas flame until lightly blackened on all sides and barely softened. Put the peppers in a plastic bag and let rest a t room temperature for about 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin off the peppers, but do not do this by running under water, which will wash away the flavorful oils.

Cut the peppers lengthwise through one side. Discard the ribs and seeds. Cut each pepper into three pieces. Set aside.

Break the tough, woody stems off of the asparagus, and then peel the bottom 2 inches of the stems to the whtie. The asparagus stems will break naturally where they should when bent.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus for 1 to 2 minutes, or until their color brightens. (Do not let the asparagus spears turn soft.) Drain and immediately submerge in cold watere. Drain again. Dry with paper towels.

Preheat the broiler.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the oil with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer the asparagus to abaking sheet. Drizzle with the dressingf and toss to coat.

Broil the asparaus, turning twice, for about 6 minutes, or until tender, rotating with tongs several times during cooking. Lightly brush the pepper, with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.

Using a preheated countertop or gas grill, grill the peppers for about 1 minutes, or until they have grill marks.

Center 2 pieces of pepper, grill sides up, on a plate. Fn six asparagus spears over the peppers. Repeat to make five more servings. Dizzle each with 1 tablespoon of balsamic glaze and serve immediately.

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