Flavored Salts for a Flavorful Salad

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February 27, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

I’m getting a bit of a late start posting today because I got sucked into last night’s episode of The Taste. I love learning about all the different nose-to-tail cuts of meat and cooking preparations. But I have to confess, I have a lot of research to do before I take a stab at cooking up my own off-cut dinner. I’ll definitely be pulling from my library of technique books and likely perusing the internet for some help before my next The Taste Tuesday. I don’t even know what animal I’ll use, let alone what crazy parts!? I’m fairly confident I won’t be cooking up bulls testicles but we shall see. Tune in next week for that adventure.

Back to today’s totally normal, and in fact, almost vegetarian meal. I told you on Monday that I would be sharing some more ways to use the thyme mushroom salt that I made as my wedding favors. Over the weekend I cooked up this salad, incorporating a popular party appetizer, the stuffed mushroom. Instead of stuffing bite-sized creminis, I used large portobellos as my “meaty” base. And I used my thyme mushroom salt to create a continuity of flavor throughout the salad. All in all it turned out amazing!

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This salad would be so impressive to entertain with. You could serve it as an entree, like I did, with some homemade bread. I love when a salad is filling enough on its own for a satisfying dinner. But put together a slightly smaller version, and it would work beautifully as a starter. And of course, leave out the pancetta for an entirely vegetarian meal.

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First make the slow roasted tomatoes, by halving Roma tomatoes, drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with the mushroom thyme salt. Leave these in a very low oven (225˚F) for about 3 hours.

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Or if you find yourself out of time before meeting friends for cocktails, you can do what I did and just turn off the oven after 90 minutes and just leave the tomatoes in there to finish.

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To make the filling for the mushrooms, I quickly sautéed some chopped baby spinach, then stirred it together with feta, ricotta, roasted red pepper, and a pinch more thyme salt!

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Evenly distribute the filling onto the big mushrooms, then sprinkle with Panko and bake!

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I roasted the stuffed portobellos for about 25 minutes, until the tops had browned. If there are any mushroom juices on the cookie sheet after baking, just use a paper towel to soak them up. Let the portobellos sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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While your mushrooms bake assemble your salad, starting with a mixed greens base, then crispy pancetta, roasted zucchini, the slow roasted tomatoes, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. I used yet another pinch of the thyme mushroom salt in the dressing.

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Stuffed Portobello Salad

Serves 4

For the mushrooms:

4 large Portobello mushrooms, stem removed

1 cup ricotta

4 oz. crumbled feta

6 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 roasted red pepper, diced

1 tsp mushroom thyme salt

½ cup Panko breadcrumbs

For the salad:

12 oz salad greens

2 small zucchini, diced and roasted

6 slow roasted Roma tomatoes (recipe follows)

2 oz. pancetta

For the vinaigrette:

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp thyme mushroom salt

fresh cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Roast the diced zucchini in a drizzle of olive oil and salt for 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, sauté the spinach for a minute until just wilted. Mix with the ricotta, feta, red pepper, and thyme mushroom salt.

Divide the filling evenly onto the mushrooms. Sprinkle with Panko and bake for 25 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, assemble the salad. Divide the lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, and pancetta among 4 large salad bowls. Whisk together the vinaigrette and drizzle on the salads.

Once the mushrooms are done, allow them to rest for 5 minutes, then top the salads and serve.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

6 ripe Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 Tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tsp thyme mushroom salt

Preheat oven to 225˚F.

Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil on both sides then place cut side up on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle evenly with the thyme mushroom salt.

Bake for 3 hours.

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One thought on “Flavored Salts for a Flavorful Salad

  1. […] I’m out of mac and cheese. But if you want to make some for yourself, here’s how: I slow roasted some cherry tomatoes early in the day, then mixed up some classic cheddar mac and cheese. I used a […]

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