Gorgonzola, Endive, and Mushroom Salad

Last week on a rare trip to Williamsburg, Noah and I stopped in at the Bedford Cheese shop. I have an immense amount of affection for this place because the week before I graduated from college, my roommate and I drove to Williamsburg to try to find her an apartment and stopped here. On that trip, we bought Australian feta–essentially feta soaked in herbs and olive oil. It’s as good as it sounds.

My memories of the week before graduation mostly involve rain. Running through a hot rain storm; learning to replace the windshield wipers on a car; and being tucked into a warm car with wet clothes and good cheese as we got hopelessly lost in the Bronx on our way home from Williamsburg.

So, it seemed fitting, as we experienced days of gray skies, rain, and even hail(!) this week, to break into the cheese I bought on our recent visit to the cheese shop. This time, I had purchased a creamy gorgonzola. I decided it should go into a salad so I bought some Belgian endive, but beyond that this salad really came together based on what I had in our refrigerator.

That said, it was so good that I plan to make sure I have these ingredients in the refrigerator more often going forward. It has a nice mix of soft and crunchy ingredients and is hearty enough to be a meal. I think it will be an especially delicious fall salad.

Gorgonzola, Endive, and Mushroom Salad: 

– 3 heads of Belgian endive.

– 7 cloves of garlic

– 8 ounces Cremini mushrooms

– 4 ounces Shiitake mushrooms

– About 12 fingerling potatoes

– Gorgonzola (I used slightly under a quarter pound)

– Olive oil

– 1/2 a lemon

* Thinly slice mushrooms and garlic.

* Put out layer of 2-3 paper towels.

* Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large pan.

* Add mushrooms to pan in a single layer and sprinkle salt on top of them. Cook until the liquid they release is basically gone and they are starting to get a little crispy. Transfer to paper towels to dry.

* Add a little more olive oil to pan and put in sliced garlic. Keep an eye on the garlic and remove quickly when slices are mostly, but not entirely, brown. You want to make brown garlic chips, but garlic burns quickly so watch carefully. When you remove them, spread them on the paper towels to dry as well.

* Prepare potatoes by cleaning them and then either boiling them or microwaving them. Boiling the potatoes until they are tender will get you slightly better results, but when I’m in a rush, I just poke a hole in each potato with a  knife, and then put them all in a bowl covered with a plate and microwave for about five minutes, or until tender. In a salad, I think either way is fine.

* Clean endive and chop it horizontally so you end up with small slivers.

* Slice cooked potatoes into rounds.

* Toss endive and potatoes with the juice of half a lemon, olive oil to taste, and salt. Spread on a plate.

* Scatter mushrooms on top of endive/ potato mixture.

* Crumble gorgonzola on top of mushrooms.

* Sprinkle with garlic chips and salt and pepper to taste.

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