My cravings aren’t specific. Most of the time, planning dinner, I sense the type of dish I want–spicy, woodsy, basic bland, sweet, pungent, delicate—and I’ll go from there. I’ll often yearn for general flavors, the ol’ sweet tooth actin’ up, but I hardly ever crave a certain food.
And then there’s goat cheese. I’ll be minding my own business and all of a sudden I can’t control my thoughts, my drool, my urges—I need goat cheese. This is a stange thing for me since I’ve never been a believer in the cheese cravings that so many women claim to have, always assuming they were just making excuses to stuff themselves. And while I love all kinds of cheese, and eat it daily, I’ve never had cravings for a type. Now, in the middle of the day or night, I’m thinking goat cheese. Just the fleeting mention of those two words—goat, cheese—puts a giddy smile on my face, one of those eyes rolling in the back of your head, mouth open, exhaling deeply giddy smiles.
Perusing the cookbooks at Barnes and Noble the other day, I knew that a recipe containing goat cheese, mushrooms, and bacon would have to be on my dinner table that night. No way around it. This recipe, adapted from my memory of it in Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures, is a frisée salad with aged goat cheese. The frisee, which is more bitter and sharp than mixed greens or Romaine lettuce, allows for pungent goat cheese instead of the standard Parmesan topping. The mushrooms also stand up nicely against the cheese—a woodsy counterpart. And bacon, well, bacon tastes good in anything.
I recommend using a good red wine vinegar for this. I used O Olive Oil brand’s Zinfandel Vinegar. I’ve heard so much about this brand of oil and vinegar, and it seems that all the hype is justified. The vinegar was delicious by itself and would be perfect of simple salads of a little oil and vinegar.
I’m entering this recipe into Leftover Queen’s Royal Foodie Joust. The event looks like tons of fun, and we all get to talk about it on the website’s forum, so I couldn’t resist. You can check out the details here.
Portabello, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Frisée Salad
adapted from Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures
Place mushrooms on a baking sheet and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven at 350º until browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon slowly over med-low heat until crisp and fragile-crumbly (which is my preference, but by all means cook the bacon however you please). Transfer bacon to a plate and discard all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon fat. In a small bowl, whisk together the bacon fat, olive oil, vinegar, shallots, mustard and a pinch of thyme, salt, and pepper. Taste and vary the dressings ingredients to your liking (add more vinegar a little at a time if you think the dressing is to oily). Remove mushrooms when done and in a small bowl combine mushrooms with 2 Tbsp of the dressing. Let sit as you prepare the salad bowl with frisée lettuce, bacon, and dressing. Mix in mushrooms and grated cheese. Top with extra cheese if you like. Enjoy!
5 portabello mushroom caps, sliced 2 Tbsp dried or fresh thyme 6 slices smoked bacon, cut into 1-to-2 inch pieces 2/3 cup olive oil 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 2 Tbsp chopped shallots 2 tsp Dijon mustard 6 cups frisée lettuce 4-to-6 oz grated aged goat cheese, I recommend this one Salt, Pepper