Mixt Salads recipe #3: Heaven
Heaven: a frisee aux lardons salad plus chanterelles. Has everyone eaten the classic frisee aux lardons? If not, briefly, it's frisee lettuce tossed with small chunks of bacon, optional croutons, a vinegary dressing, and a poached egg. The yolk breaks and melds with the tart dressing to coat the bread cubes, salty bacon and crispy pale green frisee, which somehow manages to keep this salad lively and refreshing. It's an incredible treat, a perfect dish.
Does this exquisitely calibrated salad really cry out of chanterelles ? It does not. Is it in fact diminished by chanterelles? I would say, sadly, yes.
I was very excited about Heaven, because I love frisee aux lardons and I love chanterelles. Chanterelles are wonderful sauteed and then mixed with cream, because they're soft and slippery and sweet and love to be coddled. They were not meant to be tossed in an assertive salad where everything has to hold its own. Every element of the frisee aux lardons supplies some absolutely necessary component -- salt, fat, crunch, acidity -- and there's just no role for a tender, mild-mannered mushroom. The pieces of mushroom clung limply to the frisee and got in the way. What a waste of an $8 bag of chanterelles.
I don't like saying punk things about a book day after day, and I'm sure if the authors knew about it, they wouldn't like it either. I feel like maybe I should abort if the next couple of recipes don't turn out great.
Because I doubted Isabel and Owen would like the salad, I also served tempeh burgers from my old friend Gourmet Today. Practically every non-meat product in the kitchen-- seed, spice, grain, tempeh, canned chile, dried tomatoes, fresh vegetables, herbs -- went into this dish and each seemed to require toasting, grinding, simmering, soaking, chopping, chilling, or shredding. I'd forgotten how much work vegetarian cooking requires.
But the results were very tasty, if not as chewy and dense as we would have liked.
Does anyone have a veggie burger recipe they love and can recommend?