We recently enjoyed a birthday dinner at Hen of the Wood, a very good restaurant in Burlington, Vermont. On the menu was a salad that sounded so appealing that we broke our rule of sharing a salad so we could each enjoy a full portion. We were attracted by the prospect of fresh radishes and Bayley Hazen Blue, a cheese from Jasper Hill. The ingredients were so simple, yet the salad was satisfying and fresh tasting. This is my version, which I am happy to say is pretty close to the original. —Bevi
For the Vinaigrette
juice of one lemon
olive oil - 2x the quantity of lemon juice
agave nectar or honey
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad
heads butter or gem lettuce
fresh radishes, slice very thinly
large English cucumber, skin on, sliced very thinly
2 to 3 ounces
Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese, or another great blue, crumbled
Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside. Note: Cooking time is dependent upon whether you microwave your bacon, or fry it. If you fry the bacon, add 1/2 tsp bacon fat to replace 1 tsp of olive oil.
Carefully wash and dry the lettuce. Tear into manageable pieces for eating - not too large and not too small. Place in a good sized mixing bowl.
Carefully mix in the radishes, cukes, and crumbled blue cheese into the lettuce, being careful not to crush the lettuce. NOTE: If you like your salad chilled - and this salad is quite good that way with colder radishes and cukes adding to their crispness - mix the vegetables without the blue cheese and stick in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes to get a cold edge to the salad. Then take the cold salad out just prior to serving and mix in the crumbled cheese. Proceed with the recipe.
Assemble 4 salad plates. Plate the lettuce mixture in equal portions onto the plates. Sprinkle equal amounts of the crumbled bacon on top of each serving.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette on top of each portion, but do not mix into the salads.
NB: You can omit the bacon if you want a vegetarian salad, but the bacon is a key flavor component!