Friday, November 20, 2015
Food I'm Eating: Warm Olive and Marcona Almond Salad with Mozzarella
1 cup canola oil
½ cup peeled garlic cloves
1 garlic bulb, cut in half
1 fresh serrano chile cut in half lengthwise
2 pints assorted PITTED olives--a variety of colors and flavors recommended
1½ cups Marcona almonds or whole blanched skinless almonds
2 small jars marinated artichoke hearts with their oil
1 tbsp. good red wine vinegar
8 oz small-size fresh mozzarella cheese, drained, at room temperature, Or larger mozzarella cut into smaller pieces.
4 oz. Manchego cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 oz. Gruyere, or any other similarly textured cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 basket cherry tomatoes
1 head Belgian endive, leaves separated, then cut in half
1 cup whole parsley leaves
1 cup basil leaves, torn
Zest of one lemon
In a small saucepan, sauté the peeled garlic cloves in the canola oil until golden brown, stirring often--about 5 minutes. Remove the cloves and transfer them to a paper towel. Reserve the garlic oil.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add three Tbsp. of the garlic oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the garlic cut sides of the garlic bulb down into the pan and sear for three to four minutes, add the chile halves and continue to sauté until the chiles are brown, being careful not to burn them.
Add the olives and almonds and continue to sauté until hot all the way through--three to four minutes more--tossing often.
Add the cherry tomatoes, the artichoke hearts and all of their oil and cook for another minute or two, stirring or tossing continuously until the tomatoes are warmed through and beginning to swell. Add the vinegar and lemon zest and stir well.
Add the hard cheeses and continue to toss until they begin to melt.
Remove from the heat and add the mozzarella balls all at once. Stirring or tossing well. Stir in the parsley, basil, and endive leaves and season with pepper.
Turn out the salad into a large serving platter and serve immediately with rustic bread, cut into thick chunks. Serves 8-10.