Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mesclun Salad with Warm Mushroom Vinaigrette

Like the Dinosaur Kale and Feta Panini, this salad was partially inspired by a dish I saw at inotecca over the weekend.  The funny thing about that is that prior to last weekend Alex and I had never eaten at inotecca before.  And while I enjoyed the meal, it wasn't impressive enough that I thought while dining that I would be drawing so much inspiration from the restaurant.  Even funnier is that I didn't order either of the two items that inspired this salad and the panini.  The table next to us did order the salad and from what I remember from the menu and/or could tell from staring at them, it was a mixed green salad of sorts with roasted mushrooms on top.  I don't think there was any cheese, but I couldn't say for certain.  We had a few cups of the mesclun from the farmers' market left (as well as some cremini mushrooms) and I wanted to make a fun, earthy salad, so adding mushrooms seemed like an interesting idea.  I pan roasted the mushrooms with evoo, garlic, shallots and rosemary and then added a splash of sherry vinegar (plus some more evoo at the end) so that the mushrooms were both a topping and the dressing for the salad.  They were pretty tasty.  Then I shaved on some really nice Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  The one thing that I didn't do and I wish that I had done is to make some homemade croutons.  I think that the buttery flavor and the crunchy texture of the croutons really would have taken this salad to the next level.  As if was, the mushrooms were really lovely and the flavors were good, but it felt like it was lacking a little something.  Lesson learned - next time I will make croutons!

Recipe after the jump!

Mesclun Salad with Warm Mushroom Vinaigrette

1 tsp butter
3 tbsp evoo, separated
1 large garlic clove (or 2 medium), minced
1 tbsp shallot, finely minced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and quartered (or cut smaller if the mushrooms are large)
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
3 cups mesclun greens
thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
homemade croutons (optional - I didn't make any, but I highly recommend tossing some in)

Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add butter.  Once the butter melts, add 2 tbsp evoo.  Once the butter and the evoo have combined, add garlic and shallot.  Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add mushrooms.  Saute mushrooms until they have reduced in size and turned a nice golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.  Add rosemary and season with s&p.  Sautee until the rosemary is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add sherry vinegar and remaining tbsp evoo.  Season to taste with s&p as necessary.  If the dressing is too acidic, drizzle in a little more evoo.

Pour warm dressing over the mescun greens in a serving bowl.  Top with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and homemade croutons (if you have them).  Serve.

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