Portland, Oregon: You had me at melted cheese. With the weather turning nasty in Portland, and after a month of self-imposed veganism, I was ready for a recipe that featured melted cheese. This salad is quite intriguing - it calls for arugula and radicchio (both bitter), tossed in a simple vinaigrette - nothing unusual so far - but then sprinkled with grated cheese and broiled for just a minute or so before serving, and garnished with chopped hazelnuts. Intriguing? It was to me.
The original salad recipe, from Joshua McFadden (the veggie-loving chef at Ava Gene's Roman-style restaurant in Portland) is individually plated and baked in a 350° oven for a minute. A newer version, now floating around the interweb calls for the salad to be broiled for one minute to melt the cheese. I tried the broiled version, using Fontina cheese, plating the dressed salad on a stainless steel tray. We really liked the salad, but it was very vinegary. Not only are the (already bitter!) greens dressed with a red wine vinaigrette, balsamic is drizzled over just before serving.
No additional balsamic drizzle. Enough is enough. The second dressing was much better, but I think we preferred the broiled cheese as opposed to the baked cheese. Even though my plates are rated only to a 350° oven, I feel they can take one minute under a broiler without damage.
Next time: the second version dressing, individually plated, one minute under the broiler, garnished with hazelnuts. Done.
Does this recipe sound intriguing to you? Delicious or hideous?
Until my next update, I remain, your puckered correspondent.