Warm Mushroom Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
- SERVINGS: 6
At Farmhaus in St. Louis, chef Kevin Willmann likes using the mushrooms his local cultivators bring in: for this salad, he says, "Oyster mushrooms are the awesomest." To roast them, he makes a delicious garlic oil; save leftover oil for other uses.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 head of garlic, cloves crushed but not peeled
- 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as oyster, enoki and shiitake—thick stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 leek, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sorghum or molasses
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 6 ounces sturdy baby greens, such as arugula, tatsoi, mustard or spinach
- 3 ounces cold fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a saucepan, bring both oils to a simmer with the garlic. Cook over low heat until fragrant, 15 minutes. Strain the oil and discard the garlic.
- In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms with 6 tablespoons of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. (Reserve the remaining garlic oil for later use.) Spread the mushrooms in a baking pan and roast for 35 minutes, stirring once or twice, until crisp and golden. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for 7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool.
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Strain the fat into a heatproof bowl and return half of it to the skillet. Add the leek to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sorghum, lemon juice and the remaining bacon fat.
- In a large bowl, toss the greens with the vinaigrette, mushrooms and pecans. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Sprinkle with the bacon and goat cheese and serve.
Light-bodied Beaujolais is an ideal pairing for dishes like this salad: Its bright acidity is refreshing with the bacon and allows the flavor of the earthy mushrooms to stand out.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.