I am a magazine junkie, always have been. Even when I was a little kid I loved looking at the magazine rack at the store, all the bright colored photos of beautiful people, homes and FOOD!
I still stop and stare at the magazine rack at the grocery store and oh my gosh at Barnes and Noble, I can hardly contain myself! Most of my subscriptions arrive on my tablet now, but I confess I get most of my food magazines in the mail and my ipad. With apologies to the trees, holding an actual magazine or a book, well, there is nothing like it.
I also still flip through the magazines the day they arrive and immediately dog-ear the pages with all the recipes I want to try. You know you do the same thing! But how often do you go back and make those great dishes? There are so many food blogs, web sites, TV shows, seemingly endless sources of recipes out there, people rarely turn to cookbooks or magazines any more.
So I have decided that every Monday I will feature a recipe from a food magazine. I promise to stick to the recipe as written. Those who know me, know that hardly ever happens. A recipe is little more than a guide to me, an inspiration. I usually just look at the list of ingredients, a photo of the dish if available and then put my spin on it, substitute items as needed and so on. That’s just what I do! One caveat to this stick-to-the-recipe plan. I will alter it to be gluten free as needed. I’ll let you know if the recipe failed or succeeded and where I think alterations might be helpful if necessary.
So welcome to the first installment of Monday’s Magazine Pick…
Butter Lettuce Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
Food and Wine, February 2014, pg 84
2 plum tomatoes, halved
2 medium shallots, quartered lengthwise
1/3 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing
1 TB plus 2 teas sherry vinegar
2 teas dijon mustard
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (2.5 ounces)
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 1 TB for pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 teas chili powder
1/4 lb (4 slices) thick cut bacon, diced
2 heads butter lettuce, cut into wedges
thinly sliced red onion
Preheat oven to 425.
Brush tomatoes and shallots with canola oil. Roast on baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until soft and slightly browned in spots.
Transfer to a blender and cool completely. Then add vinegar and mustard Puree until smooth. Add blue cheese. Puree. With machine running add canola and olive oil until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil and chili powder. Place in single layer on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Cool.
In a skillet, cook diced bacon over moderate heat until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Arrange wedge of lettuce on plate, top with pumpkin seeds, bacon, onions and tomatoes. Drizzle with tomato vinaigrette.
A few notes. This may seem a like a lot of steps for a salad, but it comes together quite quickly. Bake the pumpkin seeds while the tomatoes and shallots are cooling and while the oven is still hot.
The dressing offers a unique change of pace from the average mustard vinaigrette. I look forward to making it with some more flavorful local tomatoes this summer.
If you have never used sherry vinegar I encourage you to get some. It has great tang combined with a slight sweetness that no other acid can match. The blue cheese adds a richness to this dressing, but doesn’t scream blue cheese at you with the first bite. In fact you might not be able to place just what that extra something is if you didn’t already know it. If you have leftover cheese, I would crumble it over the salad.
All in all I would make this one again, the dressing itself is one I will repeat, probably often!