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Aged Provolone and Piquillo Pepper Salad

Aged Provolone and Piquillo Pepper SaladA gourmet salad of romaine leaves topped with a cheese-piquillo pepper mixture, drizzled with a fig vinaigrette and a garnish of pickled red onion. Recipe by Chef James Campbell Caruso.

Recipe Ingredients:

Pickled Red Onion:
1 cup boiling water
1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 whole cloves

Vinaigrette:
8 fresh figs, cut in half*
2 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 1/2 cups olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon aged sherry vinegar
2 pounds sliced Wisconsin Aged Provolone cheese
1 (12-ounce) jar Spanish piquillo peppers, drained, julienned
16 crisp romaine leaves
Cracked black pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Pickled Red Onion: Pour boiling water over onion in a small bowl. Let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain onion well and return to bowl. Stir in orange and lime juices, white wine vinegar, oregano, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cloves. Set aside.
  2. For Vinaigrette: Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. In medium bowl, toss figs with 2 tablespoons olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill 2 minutes per side. Put grilled figs in food processor with mustard, honey and sherry vinegar. Process until pureed. With motor running, slowly add 1 1/2 cups olive oil. Season to taste.
  3. Final Preparation: Cut cheese into 1/2-inch strips. In large bowl, toss cheese strips and peppers with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette.
  4. Arrange 2 romaine leaves on each plate. Top with cheese-pepper mixture. Drizzle some of the remaining vinaigrette on the plates, being sure to dress the romaine. Finish plate with cracked black pepper and some pickled red onion.

Makes 8 servings.

*If fresh figs are not available, pour 1/4 cup boiling water over 10 chopped dried figs; let stand until cooled. Continue with recipe, using figs and water.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.