Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Salade of Belgian Endive and Finocchio with White Truffle Rose Petal Vinaigrette

     An Elegant Tasting Composed Salad For Summer!
     Belgian Endive is an elegant tasting bitter lettuce that has a crisp texture.  Finocchio is also called Anise Bulb or Florence Fennel.  Finocchio has a light a light aromatic anise flavor that pairs well with Belgian Endive.  Both of these salad items are usually accompanied by a fancy vinaigrette of a chefs choosing.
     Obviously a "one size fits all" standard Italian or French Vinaigrette will fall short of expectations when served with certain food items that have unique flavor profiles.  Fine dining chefs often design a vinaigrette so it best suits specific flavor combinations.  The texture of the vinaigrette is part of the design too.  For example, a loose stirred vinaigrette is a better choice for certain salad applications than a fully emulsified smooth vinaigrette.  A stirred vinaigrette allows the components of the vinaigrette to separate and this can create a wider range of taste sensations.
     Mushrooms taste good with bitter lettuce and aromatic fennel, so White Truffle Mushroom Oil is a good choice for today's salad.  Flowers symbolize the spring and early summer seasons, so adding some rose petals to the vinaigrette creates an interesting seasonal flavor.  Rose Petals and Rose Water are used extensively in Arabic, Persian and Indian cuisines, so the use of roses in a modern vinaigrette is really nothing new.  The combination of bitter lettuce, aromatic fennel, white truffle and rose petals may be difficult to imagine, but all it takes is one taste to see that this unique flavor combination tastes great!  

     White Truffle Rose Petal Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields about 1/4 cup.  (2 petite portions)
     Fresh edible rose petals are not always available.  Dried edible rose petals and Rose Water are easy to find at Mediterranean food markets.  If dried rose petals are used, then the dressing must stand for at least 10 minutes so the crumbled dried rose petals reconstitute.  If fresh rose petals are used, then slice the petals into very thin chiffonade strips that are as wide as a thread.
     White Truffle Oil varies in strength.  Some taste much stronger than others.  Only a light White Truffle flavor is needed for this vinaigrette, so a strong tasting White Truffle Oil should be diluted with Pomace Olive Oil or Canola Oil. 
     Step 1:  Place 2 teaspoons of crumbled dried rose petals (or very thin chiffonade sliced rose petals) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of rose water.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of water.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Stir the ingredients.
     Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes, so the flavors meld and the dried rose petals reconstitute.
     Step 2:  Slowly add 1/2 teaspoon of strong tasting White Truffle Oil while gently whisking.
     Slowly add 2 1/2 tablespoons of Pomace Olive Oil (or Canola Oil) while gently whisking.
     Step 3:  Place the vinaigrette in a container.
     Allow the vinaigrette to stand for 10 minutes so the flavors meld or chill it for later use.
     *Stir before serving!

     Salade of Belgian Endive and Finocchio with White Truffle Rose Petal Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields 1 composed salad.
     A Composed Salad requires that each item be arranged on a plate with a planned design in mind.  A symmetric design with a central focal point looks good from all angles.
     This is a strong tasting vinaigrette, so a little bit goes a long way.  
     Step 1:  Use a 3" ring mold to place 1/2 cup of mixed baby spinach leaves and frisée lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Place 1/4 cup of thin sliced fennel bulb on top of the lettuce greens.
     Remove the ring mold.
     Step 2:  Gently peel and separate 8 large Belgian Endive leaves.
     Trim the ends of the Belgian Endive leaves, so they are just about equal in length.
     Equally space the Belgian Endive on the around the mound of lettuce and fennel, so the leaves point out from center.
     Step 3:  Slice a roasted red bell pepper into 8 thin strips that measure 2 1/2" x 1/4".
     Place the roasted pepper strips on the plate between the Belgian Endive leaves, so they point out from center.
     Step 4:  Stir the White Truffle Rose Petal Vinaigrette.
     Drizzle a small portion of the vinaigrette on the salad components.  (About 2 tablespoons.)
     Garnish the mound of lettuce and fennel with green fennel top sprigs.

     The composed flower design of this salad will let guests know what to expect to taste.  This aromatic salad is a nice start for an evening of fine dining!

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