Insalata Cuoco, Recipe

Socca with Insalata Cuoco
*UPDATE: As of January 2013, Chef Mike is no longer at Nizza.*

See that gorgeous salad in that picture above? And in the YouTube video here and below?

Want to know how to make it? Here is the recipe direct from Chef Mike. Thanks again Nizza!

Insalata Cuoco by Michael Schimelpfenig, Chef de Cuisine, Nizza NYC

For the salad:
1 clamshell mixed greens (mesclun mix)
2 bulbs fennel, shaved
2 bartlett pears, batons
.5 lb goat cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
.5 lb bacon strip
1 shallot, minced
.5 bunch parsley, fine chop
.5 cup sherry vinegar
1.75 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste


The salad:
Begin this salad—as with any salad—by washing the mixed greens (even when the package says “ready to eat”), the pears, and the fennel.  Remove any green stalk from the top of the fennel bulb, and shave as thin as possible across the top.  This is best done on a Japanese mandolin (Benriner is the brand I use).  In the absence of a mandolin this can be done with a sharp knife.  Save prepping the pears until near ready to serve the salad, as they will oxidize and turn brown if sliced too early.  Prepare the pears by quartering it around the core.  Place each quarter flat side down and cut each into thin slices, then cut the thin slices into batons.   
The dressing:
Cook the bacon in a hot sauté pan until crisp.  Remove from pan, and allow it to cool before chopping.  Once cool, coarsely chop the bacon into small bits.  Blend the bacon, shallot, parsley, and sherry vinegar in a small mixing bowl.  Whisk vigorously while slowly adding the olive oil until all the oil is incorporated.  It is important to add the oil as slow as possible in order to assure that it will blend in with the rest of the ingredients, and not separate within the mixture.  Add salt to taste after the vinaigrette is blended. 

The final product:
Toss the greens, fennel, and pears with the bacon vinaigrette in a medium mixing bowl.  Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired with salt.  Keep the goat cheese refrigerated until ready to serve this salad.  Cold goat cheese crumbles with more ease and is less messy to deal with than warm goat cheese.  Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the salad and serve.
*This recipe will yield three portions.


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