Friday, November 11, 2011

Toasted Baby Caprino with Greens

Eating seasonally after Labor Day doesn't mean packing away the salad bowl with your white pants. Arm yourself with the right ingredients and you can create a toothsome salad that is hearty enough for a main course.

With warm salads you want to think contrasts. Earthy greens collide famously with the creamy, yet bold, Baby Caprino. The salad acts as the stage for what is basically a big, cheesy crouton. Please calm yourself.

2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Unsalted butter
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Baby Caprino, cut in 4 pieces, horizontally and then in half
4 slices Slow Dough baguette, about 1” thick, cut at an angle
Mixed greens (such as swiss chard, arugula, tat soi and baby spinach)
4 vine-ripened cocktail tomatoes, cut in quarters

Wash, pat dry, cut and toss leeks with a splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sauté leeks in olive oil, over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Allow leeks to get just golden on the edges, avoid mushy at all costs. Remove from heat and add olive oil, mustard and balsamic vinegar directly to the pan and whisk until mixed well. Poor warm dressing over greens and toss with tomatoes. Watch your timing at this step. You can go from beautifully wilted to limp in a matter of moments. I dressed the salad just as the Baby Caprino was finished toasting.

Butter both sides of each baguette piece. Put a medallion of the Baby Caprino, rind facing up, on each baguette piece and place under the broiler until the cheese is soft and just bubbling. The rind and edges should be golden (about 2 to 3 minutes). Serve immediately over mixed greens and tomatoes.

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