The warm salad with potatoes and bacon tasted like something you could order from a fancy restaurant. The kids loved the bacon and potatoes (especially the purple potatoes) but didn't really care for the wilted greens. The carrot and fennel soup was amazing, and I've never had fennel before. Well at least not the fresh kind. I've used dried fennel seeds a lot. But yes, truly amazing. My senses were wowed by the bright yet warm combination of the carrots and the fennel. I didn't even have the orange juice or orange olive oil that the original recipe calls for and I still loved every bite! Enjoy!
Warm Salad with Fingerling Potatoes and Bacon, serves about 3
(adapted from Door To Door Organics recipe which was adapted from an Epicurious.com recipe)
1 pound small fingerling potatoes, unpeeled
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (I used several sprigs)
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 cups bite-size pieces spinach leaves
4 cups bite-size pieces dandelion greens, tough center ribs and stems discarded (if you don't have dandelion greens you could sub more spinach or another green which could stand up to the wilting action of the dressing)
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
12 ounces thick slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces (preferably from pastured pork but that is extremely hard to find around here so the next best thing is a nitrate-free, organic version)
1/4 cup sliced shallots
Scrub potatoes under running water and pat dry. Toss in a 9x9" roasting pan w/2 Tbs of the EVOO and the thyme and salt. Roast at 425 F for about 40 mins or until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 mins before halving lengthwise.
Toss spinach, dandelion greens, and parsley together in serving bowl.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in large cast iron skillet over med-hi heat. When browned and starting to crisp up, add shallots and cook another minute or two, until shallots are tender. Add remaining 2 Tbs EVOO and the red wine vinegar. Turn off heat and stir to combine everything. Top greens with bacon and potato mixture, tossing to wilt the greens. Serve immediately.
Carrot and Fennel Soup, serves about 4
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
1 gallon bag frozen veggie trimmings (I've been saving my washed trimmings from various veggies so I can make my own vegetable broth. This batch had cabbage, red chard, broccoli, and something else I can't remember)
8-10 cups water
EVOO for sauteeing
1 fennel bulb,sliced (reserve fronds)
1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and thickly cut on the diagonal
1-2large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
kosher or sea salt to taste
2 cups cooked wild rice
one poached egg per person that you're serving
fresh grated Parmesan for serving, if desired
Place your frozen veggies in a stock pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to boil and then simmer about an hour. Skim out veggies and you will be left with a beautiful vegetable broth.
Saute carrots and fennel in the EVOO over med heat until beginning to sweat. Add garlic and saute another minute. Transfer to soup pot. Simmer until carrots are tender. Salt to taste (note - if you make your own broth like I did, you will need a considerable amount of coarse sea salt. I think I used 1-2 Tablespoons total). Add cooked rice and heat through.
While the rice is heating in the soup, poach the eggs. Fill a wide skillet with water and add a splash of white vinegar. Bring to boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. One at a time, break an egg into a small cup and then gently tilt the cup into the simmering water and let the egg flow out. Continue with as many eggs as you need (or as many as will fit in your skillet, trying to keep the eggs separate). Turn off heat, cover skillet, and set timer for 4 minutes. At high altitude, that gives you a just-beginning-to-solidify yolk. Ladel the soup into bowls and top with poached egg. Garnish with grated Parmesan, fresh cracked pepper, and reserved fennel fronds. (And that is my very first attempt at real, 100% wild-yeast sourdough bread in the pic below).