Friday, May 11, 2007

Warm salad of crispy smoked bacon and Jerusalem artichokes

2 handfuls of Large Jerusalem artichokes or New potatoes
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 radicchio or Treviso, outer leaves discarded
3 little gem lettuces, leaves washed, dried and stalks removed
a small handful of flat leaf parsley or chervil, leaves picked and finely sliced
extra virgin olive oil
8 rashers thickly sliced smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
3tbsp balsamic vinagar

Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes and boil them in salted water until tender. Once cool, cut them in half and set aside. Meanwhile, carefully remove the core of the radicchio or treviso, then halve, break apart and finely slice. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Put the gem lettuce leaves in a large bowl with the radicchio or traviso, and the parsley or chervil.
Cut your bacon up into 1/2 inch slices, pour a small amount of oil into a non-stick pan and fry the bacon. When it’s lightly golden add the sliced onion, and your cooked, drained Jerusalem artichokes or potatoes. Fry on a medium heat till the bacon is golden and crisp, the onion is sticky and soft and the Jerusalem artichokes have sucked up all the flavors and turned crispy. The important thing is that you need enough color, but not so much that you are on the edge of burning everything.
Divide the contents of the pan onto the plates, then add 5 tbsp of oil and the balsamic vinegar to the pan, with a little pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything together so the flavors improve then pour over the salad leaves. Toss to coat all the leaves then add some to each of the plates that already have the warm ingredients. If you want to you could shave a little parmesan over the top.

Well, this was a total exercise in substitution. It was a Jamie Oliver recipe, but I wound up changing just about everything. I couldn’t find the salad greens it calls for, so I just used some that looked good, and also strong (since it was a hot salad, with the strong bacon flavor. I was supposed to use streaky bacon, which is more like the kind we have in the states, but I cheaped out and used “value cooking bacon”. Also, the supermarket is no longer carrying Jerusalem artichokes, which is a real shame because they are one of my all time favorites. If you haven’t ever had them, try them, they rock. I found some things called Eddoes. They are from China according to the label, and the description looked similar to a Jerusalem artichoke. It really was too, only ever so slightly slimy like Okra. Weird. I would use them again.

Anyway, it was still a good salad, and I learned all about a new vegetable, so it’s all good.

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