Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Endive, Frisee, Radicchio, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad with Port Vinaigrette

We had a little dinner party for our 5th grade teacher, Mr. C.  It had to be special so I knew I had to put this salad on the menu!  The recipe comes from famous Washington, D.C. chef, Ris Lacoste.  She had it on the menu when she was the chef at the restaurant 1789.  My sister Amelia had this salad at 1789 and asked for the recipe.  I have adapted it to my tastes.  I know you will love it just like we do!

Endive, Frisee, Radicchio, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad with Port Vinaigrette

3 heads endive
1 head frisee, separated from the stem, cleaned and spun dry
1 small head of radicchio, cut into ½ inch bands
6 oz port vinaigrette (see recipe below)
½ cup pecans, toasted (click here to see how to toast nuts)
9-12 oz blue cheese of your choice

Arrange leaves of endive around the edge of a large platter. Toss together the frisee, radicchio, pecans and some of the port vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and add more dressing, if necessary. Always be careful not to overdress. Drizzle a bit of dressing on each endive leave and place the salad mix in the center of platter at the base of the endive leaves. Sprinkle salad with crumbled blue cheese to taste.

Port Vinaigrette
(makes about 3 ½ cups)

2 cups port
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 shallots, diced
2 ¼ cups olive oil

Reduce 2 cups port to ¼ cup. When working on a reduction the liquid must be at a slow simmer for (in this case) about 20-30 minutes.  If you bring liquid to a full boil the liquid will reduce too quickly and not create the thick syrup that you need for this recipe. 
Combine reduced port, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and shallots in a non reactive bowl (glass or ceramic). Whisk ingredients together and then emulsify with a steady drizzle of olive oil. Taste for balance before all of the oil is added. More or less oil may be needed depending on the acidity of the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. The vinaigrette will last a month (or more) in the refrigerator.