Some things are too good to leave in your past– this Radicchio, Goat Cheese, Balsamic, and Blueberry Salad is one of them. (It was even haunting me writing about chocolate in Oregon last year!)
Working at Greenwich Village’s Gottino a few years back, this salad frequented the seasonal menu every season, simply because if it was off for more than a few days the locals would throw a riot, glasses of Primitivo flying and wine-stained teeth murmuring sweet atrocities.
I, too, was happier when the salad was servable, albeit my version of the salad had to be modified as the original was made with pine nuts. Instead of the allergen, I add blueberries to contribute some extra sweetness to the dish, and another texture component.
Fast-forward years later, and I am still eating this savory/kind of sweet salad brunch, day, night, whenever. It’s so simple to make, free of all allergens (nuts, soy, egg, corn, gluten, etc) and light in lactose, as goat’s cheese is easier to digest for those with milk sensitivities.
1 head radicchio (bitter small red cabbage), shaved into thin pieces
2 tbs. good-quality balsamic vinegar (the richer, the better-tasting in this dish; you want it to add sweetness)
1 1/2 tbs. olive oil or neutral oil (avoid vegetable oil)
~1/4 tsp. sea salt (fleur de sel)
ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup blueberries (dried for a more intense contrast, fresh for something more subtle)
Preparation time: 2 minutes
1. In medium salad mixing bowl, add shaved radicchio (use a large chef’s knife or a mandolin), vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
2. Along the side of the bowl, add goat cheese, and using a knife, gradually incorporate the pieces of radicchio into the creamy cheese until every piece is coated with some goat cheese, oil, and vinegar. This should look almost like a coleslaw. Taste it, and if it is too bitter, add more cheese. If it tastes too “plain” (ie like cheese or oil or lettuce) add more vinegar. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
3. Fold in blueberries until just combined, and serve in a vertical mound on a wide bowl for something fancy and luscious.
Made too much choux pastry from ye ole gluten-free éclairs?
Stuff them with herbed goat cheese (easier for lactose intolerances) or whatever herbed creamy substitute that is dairy-free your heart desires. Serve up with some smoked salmon, fresh fruit, and if you want to throw in some potato with that, you might as well call it brunch.
Yummy in the tummy.!
Mmmm. Caramelized leeks in olive oil. Do I need say more?
Traditionally, when you get leeks that have been julienned and brought down to a tender moist consistency, there is butter involved. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to the use of butter (see Clarified Butter post last week), but sometimes I just don’t feel like straight milk fat. And my body doesn’t, either.
This side dish is ridiculously tasty, and supremely simple to make. The hardest part is cutting the leeks. It’s not hard.
3 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 shallot, diced
1 large leek
enough water to cover leeks while cooking
1/4 tsp. sea salt + more to taste as needed
pepper to taste
Preparation time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Serves 3-4 as a small side, 2-3 as a larger side
2. Heat 1 tbs. oil in sauté pan over medium heat. When warm, add shallots, and sweat out for 3 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden around the edges. Add leeks, and add water just up to the height of the top of the leeks.
3. Top with remaining 2 tbs. olive oil and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Increase heat to medium high. Cook until water has reduced down completely, and leeks are soft and tender. Stir occasionally only as water is just about evaporated.