Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Salade a la Orangette

I tried out a salad from Homemade Life on Monday night. (to go with pizza with the really good crust from my other new book, Big Sur Bakery Cook Book; one had cherry tomatoes & leftover goat cheese herb dip; the other had mozzarella & a few spoonfuls of the bacon-y tomato sauce from Sunday's meatloaf)

It seemed a very Pacific-Northwest-y salad (the author lives in Seattle) - it had big crusty croutons, cherries, and goat cheese, tossed with arugula. I loved the technique for the croutons, even more than the finished salad. It's a take on crostini, and saves you the trouble of rubbing toasted bread with a clove of garlic. You take a hunk of bread, the size of 3-4 slices - I used a sourdough boule - and trim off the crust. Then tear the bread into rough bite-size chunks, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, and toast in the oven. Meanwhile, put about half a clove of garlic through a grarlic press into a mixing bowl big enough to hold the bread with room for tossing. When it's toasted, and still hot, dump the bread into the bowl, and mix, and Wa-Lah - garlic croutons, with no rubbing!

To make the salad, the croutons in turn get tossed with the cherries, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, more olive oil, and finally the greens, and topped with the cheese. I just didn't like how the combo of cherries & balsamic made such a darkly stained salad - and, this is the kind of thing that calls out for highly superior olive oil and vinegar, and I only used ordinary - and I probably wasn't lavish enough in pouring the oil on, either. Additionally, I used up a piece of good-enough feta, that had been lurking at the back of the cheese drawer for weeks - scraped off all the pinkish mold - rather than some more distinquished goat cheese. Hence my state of like, not love. Still, the last portion made an awfully nice lunch for me to eat while sitting on the Wisconsin Union Terrace yesterday, reading a 25-page student paper, that (happily) turned out to be 12 pages plus annotated bibliography - and even more happily, was well-written.

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