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Terry & Dave Taylor

Bitter Greens Salad with Melted Cheese

Portland, Oregon:  You had me at melted cheese. With the weather turning nasty in Portland, and after a month of self-imposed veganism, I was ready for a recipe that featured melted cheese. This salad is quite intriguing - it calls for arugula and radicchio (both bitter), tossed in a simple vinaigrette - nothing unusual so far - but then sprinkled with grated cheese and broiled for just a minute or so before serving, and garnished with chopped hazelnuts. Intriguing? It was to me.

The original salad recipe, from Joshua McFadden (the veggie-loving chef at Ava Gene's Roman-style restaurant in Portland) is individually plated and baked in a 350° oven for a minute. A newer version, now floating around the interweb calls for the salad to be broiled for one minute to melt the cheese. I tried the broiled version, using Fontina cheese, plating the dressed salad on a stainless steel tray. We really liked the salad, but it was very vinegary. Not only are the (already bitter!) greens dressed with a red wine vinaigrette, balsamic is drizzled over just before serving.

Bitter Greens with Melted Cheese, Joshua McFadden

Pretty, but too much vinegar for me/us.

Bitter Greens with melted cheese



So, I tried it (half recipe) again the next day, by making the vinaigrette with 1 Tablespoon balsamic, 4 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. After tossing the vinaigrette with the greens, I plated the salads individually, sprinkled the cheese over and baked the salads for 2 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bitter Greens with Melted Cheese

Oops! Took the photo before the hazelnut garnish.

No additional balsamic drizzle. Enough is enough. The second dressing was much better, but I think we preferred the broiled cheese as opposed to the baked cheese. Even though my plates are rated only to a 350° oven, I feel they can take one minute under a broiler without damage.

Next time: the second version dressing, individually plated, one minute under the broiler, garnished with hazelnuts. Done.

Does this recipe sound intriguing to you? Delicious or hideous?

Until my next update, I remain, your puckered correspondent.


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