Friday, May 1, 2015

Hickory Smoked Bacon and Baby Corn Salad with White Truffle Oil Vinaigrette

     A Great Tasting Cafée Style Summer Salad!
     Today's simple vinaigrette salad is as good tasting as it looks!  Making a casual tossed salad is okay for most folks, but it only takes a little more effort to make a composed café style salad presentation that has eye appeal.

     Tastefully done minimalistic composed food presentations are much more appreciated in a relaxed fine dining atmosphere, like at a café, bistro or steakhouse.  A salad with an excess of unnecessary ingredients that are not integral with the theme of the salad always looks like the garde manger cook was struggling to prove their own worth.
     Everything on any plate of food has to be integral and edible.  This is the basic rule of all classic food presentations.  Items like rosemary sprigs and thyme sprigs can only be used as garnishes if an aromatic effect is required, but a better choice is to garnish with a leafy herb that is edible as it is.

     One of the most effective salad plating designs themes is a symmetric design.  Symmetric salad presentations involve a little bit of geometry.  Each item on the plate is arranged on the plate with a central focal point.  All food components area geometrically placed on the plate in a way that guides or lures a guest's eyes to the central focal point.  A symmetric composed salad design looks the same from whatever angle the salad is viewed, no matter which seat at a table that a guest views the salad from.
     The grandfather chef of all modern fine dining French food presentations, Marie Antoine Carême, nearly always used geometric and symmetric design when creating food presentations for banquet style table settings and individual plates of food.  Carême food presentations nearly always had a central focal point that looked the same from all angles.

     The ingredients in today's café style summer salad go nice with the flavor of the white truffle oil vinaigrette.  Lightly pickled baby corn (cornlettes) and crisp smoked bacon actually is a classic American flavor combination.  The White Truffle Oil Vinaigrette accents this flavor combination in a way that must be experienced to be believes.  The rich tasting mushroom vinaigrette brings today's salad up to casual fine dining café standards.

     Baby ears of corn are always better fresh, but high quality pre-made jars of pickled baby corn is a good choice too.  Pickled baby corn that is packaged in a small glass jar is a much higher quality manufactured product than baby corn from a tin can.
     The flavor of white truffle is a little lighter tasting than black truffle oil.  Some white truffle oil brands are better than others.  Always seek the white truffle oil brand that has the richest flavor.  Cheap brands have very little flavor at all.    

     *This entire recipe yields 1 serving.
     Hard Boiled Egg:  
     Every so often, I do describe how to boil an egg.  Many who read recipes in this website are learning how to cook.
     *Fresh eggs that are less than a few days old make lousy hard boiled eggs.  Eggs that are 2 weeks old are the best for making hard boiled eggs.  
     Start by placing the egg in a sauce pot full of cold salted water.
     Place the pot over high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Set the timer for 12 minutes for a fully cooked hard boiled egg.  (Or set the timer for 8.5 to 9 minutes if a hard boiled egg with a soft yolk is preferred.)
     Cool and peel the egg under cold running water.
     Store the egg in a container of water in a refrigerator.
     Hickory Smoked Bacon Pieces:
     Heat a griddle or sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Cut 1 1/2 slice of hickory smoked bacon into small lardon shape pieces.
     Sauté the smoked bacon till it is crispy and lightly browned.
     Place the bacon pieces in a strainer to drain off any excess grease.
     Keep the smoked bacon pieces warm on a stove top.
     White Truffle Oil Vinaigrette: 
     This is a simple stirred loose vinaigrette.  Many times a loose vinaigrette that is not emulsified is a good choice.  
     Step 1:  Place 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar in a small bowl.
     Add 1/2 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of minced Italian Parsley.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of rich tasting white truffle oil.  (Add 2 tablespoons if the truffle oil is a weak tasting blended white truffle oil, then skip adding the olive oil.)
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of mild tasting pomace olive oil.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Allow the vinaigrette to stand for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Stir the vinaigrette before serving.
     Hickory Smoked Bacon and Baby Corn Salad with White Truffle Oil Vinaigrette:
     Step 1:  Mound 2 1/3 cups of mixed baby lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Step 2:  Alternate cucumber slices and tomato half slices on the plate around the mound of lettuce.
     Step 3:  Place a few small thin strips of green bell pepper on the lettuce.
     Place a few very thin strips of carrot on the lettuce.
     Sprinkle the pieces of smoked bacon on the lettuce.
     Step 4:  Cut 3 or 4 ears of pickled baby corn in half lengthwise.
     Arrange the baby corn halves on top of the cucumbers and tomatoes around the lettuce, so they look nice.
      Step 5:  Spoon just enough of the white truffle oil vinaigrette over the salad to add flavor.  (Try not to use too much salad dressing!  The salad ingredients should just be coated with flavor and not swimming in the salad dressing!)
     Step 6:  Place a half of a hard boiled egg half on top of the salad.
     Garnish the egg with bias sliced green onion.

     Viola!  A light summer salad with classic French and American flavors!

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