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Warm Mushroom Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
© Anna Williams

Warm Mushroom Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

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.

video Best New Chef 2011: Kevin Willman

  1. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  3. 1 head of garlic, cloves crushed but not peeled
  4. 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as oyster, enoki and shiitake—thick stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 3/4 cup pecans
  7. 1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  8. 1 leek, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
  9. 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  10. 1 teaspoon sorghum or molasses
  11. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  12. 6 ounces sturdy baby greens, such as arugula, tatsoi, mustard or spinach
  13. 3 ounces cold fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Suggested Pairing

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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