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Heirloom Tomato Salad w/ Burrata and Rustic Ciabbata Croutons June 14, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Recipe, Salad.
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1 loaf fresh Ciabbata
Approx. 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
1-1/2 cloves fresh garlic
1-1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
3 lbs. heirloom tomatoes
1 tsp. fleur de sel
2 tbsp. julienned opal basil
2 tbsp. julienned green basil
1 lb. burrata cheese
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Kosher salt
pepper

Croutons
Preheat oven to 375° F degrees. Slice the loaf into large 1-inch thick slices.  Remove the crusts.  Tear the bread into chunks of roughly 1-inch in diameter.  Slice thinly one clove of garlic.  Put the garlic in a microwaveable bowl with a 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and microwave on high setting for one minute.  Set aside, letting oil cool until it is safe to touch.  Remove the slices of garlic from oil and discard.  Toss the bread chunks lightly in the olive oil, moistening them slightly.  (Squeeze bread gently to remove excess olive oil, if necessary.)  Place bread chunks on a baking sheet and toast them for 12 minutes or so.  Serve within 2 hours.

Salad Dressing
Using a mortle and pestle, make a paste from oregano leaves, 1/2 clove of garlic, and 1/2 tsp. of salt.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Stir in red wine and balsamic vinegars.  Whisk in 6 tbsp. olive oil and set aside.

Salad
Julienne the basil, chop the parsley, slice the shallots, and set aside, separately.  Remove stems from cherry tomatoes and cut each in half.  Cut half the heirloom tomatoes into wedges.  Cut the other half into 1/4-inch think slices.  Season slices with fleur de sel and black pepper.  On each individual salad place, place a few tomato slices, drizzle a tiny amount of vinaigrette over tomatoes, and top with a little basil.

Slice the burrata cheese into wedges.  Put equal amount of burrata on each plate, tucked in with the tomato slices.

Toss the tomato wedges and the cherry tomatoes in a large bowl with the shallots, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, a twist of fresh ground pepper, and 3 tbsp. vinaigrette (or more — adjust to taste).  Gently toss in the croutons.  Divide the tomatoes and croutons among the plates.  Scatter parsley and remaining basil over the salads and serve within 20 minutes.

Time to Prepare: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Difficulty: 2/10

Serves: 6 people

Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin.

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Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Soft Herbs, Pecorino and Hazelnuts March 31, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Mushrooms, Recipe, Salad, Side Dish.
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2 lbs. wild mushrooms, cleaned
6 ozs. mixed salad of dandelion greens and watercress
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp. finely diced shallots
3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
9 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chervil sprigs
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chives, chopped to 1/2-inch pieces
Shaved Pecorino di Grotta (or Romano)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet on medium for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Remove brown skins and crush hazelnuts coarsely.  Set aside.

Place diced shallots, sherry vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl, and set aside for 5 mins.  Whisk in 5 tbsp. olive oil and set aside.

Clean and trim mushrooms.  Tear larger mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, 1-1/2 to 2 inches.

Heat a large skillet over high heat for 2 mins.  Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and heat for another minute.  Melt in 1 tbsp. butter and add half of the mushrooms to the skillet.  Season mushrooms with 1 tsp. thyme, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a few twists of ground pepper.  Saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  (Cooking time will vary with the types of mushrooms.)  Transfer cooked mushrooms to a bowl, and repeat cooking process with the remaining half of the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, place the greens and herbs in a large mixing bowl.

When the second batch of mushrooms is finished, add the first batch back into the skillet.  Add the vinaigrette to the skillet and warm with mushrooms for a minute or two.  When mixture is hot, pour mushrooms and dressing over the greens and herbs and mix.  Add 1/4 tsp. salt and ground pepper to taste.

Using tongs, arrange salad mixture on plates.  Sprinkle hazelnuts and pecorino over each salad plate.  Serve immediately.

Time to prepare: 30 to 45 minutes

Difficulty: 3/10

Serves: 4

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This is not a difficult dish to prepare.  Most of the time is spent grooming the herbs, washing the greens, and cleaning the mushrooms.  Once cooking begins the salad in finished in under 15 minutes.

To help time this dish with others, the mushrooms can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance.  Re-heat mushrooms just before serving, stirring in the vinaigrette until hot, as described above.