- 1/2 loaf whole wheat bread (about 1 pound), crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons pure olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- Pinch of sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 5 heads of escarole (about 4 pounds), dark green leaves discarded, the rest torn into bite-size pieces
- 6 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled, at room temperature
- Heat the oven to 400°. On a large baking sheet, toss the diced bread with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toast for 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown.
- In a bowl, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup of oil with the vinegar, thyme, oregano, garlic, shallot, sugar, Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, toss the escarole hearts with the dressing. Garnish with the croutons and Roquefort and serve.
Cooking Club Tips: Escarole is a type of endive with broad, sturdy leaves and a slightly bitter flavor. Look for bushy, crisp heads and, if storing, keep tightly wrapped in a moist towel and refrigerated for no more than three days.
To crumble the Roquefort into nice, neat chunks, it helps to chill the cheese thoroughly first. Crumble with the tines of a fork.
The standard proportion for vinaigrette is one part vinegar to three parts oil. Always season your vinaigrette with salt to bring out the salad's flavor. Nut oils such as hazelnut and walnut are delicious in salads made with bold greens like escarole and arugula, and with fruits such as apples or pears. Balsamic or wine vinegars are great matches for nut oils.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.