Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home
We all have particular pet peeves that send us over the edge when eating out. For us, whenever a dining companion orders a simple mixed green salad at a great restaurant that we’ve been dying to go to for months, we’ve been known to either sigh in agony or just protest outright. It’s not that Gothamist doesn’t appreciate the need for healthy greens or a light appetizer to start a meal, but ordering a dish devoid of personality or creativity can be a missed opportunity for trying something new and inspiring.
That’s why we were utterly thrilled to have stumbled upon the bitter greens salad at one of our favorite standbys, The Red Cat. This salad exemplifies the creative, simple cooking for which the restaurant and its co-owner and chef Jimmy Bradley are known. A mound of peppery and slightly bitter greens is surrounded with bacon and roasted potatoes and piled on top of a cheese fondue made with a nutty Swiss Gruyere. Now that’s a far cry from the standard mixed green salad.
Gothamist has been known to make a mean fondue at home, based on the classic Gruyere fondue featured in The Red Cat salad. Our guests love the special touch we add to the classic version - a few pinches of hot curry -which adds a deep, earthy flavor and neon orange color to the gooey cheese sauce.
Due to the recent guilt of realizing that we are obsessed with cured pork, we’ve taken the bacon from The Red Cat salad and substituted its big flavor with toasted almonds. Add the sweetness of dried cranberries and a dash of curry and you have the Gothamist version of The Red Cat’s Bitter Greens Salad with Gruyere Fondue.
Bitter Greens Salad
with curried gruyere fondue, roasted potatoes and dried cranberries
This is a very easy dish to make for an appetizer or lunch, or you can add more veggies to make it more substantial for an entrée. You should make the fondue right before serving for best results. Roast the potatoes in advance and warm them up before serving. You’ll have some extra fondue here, but since this will be a hot commodity, the more the merrier.
Buy a bottle of a crisp white wine (a Sav blanc for instance) not only as a great pairing with the salad, but also to add a tangy bite to the fondue.
Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two people
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1 pint half and half
1 chunk of aged Gruyere cheese (about 5 oz fine)
1 bulb of Belgian endive (optional)
1 handful arugula
3 large handfuls of mesclun salad (or 1 bag)
1 package dried cranberries
1 jar ground curry powder
1 pack of sliced almond slivers
1 baguette for sopping (optional)
Estimated cost of ingredients: $24 at Fairway (not including wine)
Roast the Potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry the potatoes, as we are going to use the skin. Place both potatoes on a cutting board and slice into medium thick wedges. Try and make them relatively similar in thickness. In a shallow foil-lined roasting pan, drizzle with a glug of olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and toss. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tender and crisped – flip after 10 minutes and continue to check for softness. Loosely cover with foil when out of the oven to keep warm.
Toast the Almonds
Add one handful of the sliced almonds and a pinch of salt to a dry pan and toast on medium heat, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Make The Fondue
Finely chop the shallot. Grate ½ cup of the Gruyere cheese.
Combine shallot and 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Sautee shallot gently until soft (2 minute), then add about 4 ounces of white wine into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add one teaspoon of flour. Continue to boil for another minute. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in 3 ounces of half and half (:02 pour) and whisk thoroughly. Let simmer for one minute. Stir in cheese and ½ teaspoon of curry. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Check the consistency. You want it thick, yet still a bit viscous and saucy. Continue to whisk – it should not be lumpy. Thin with a touch of the half and half or water if needed. Add some grated pepper and set aside.
Make the Salad
Combine three tablespoon of olive oil and a few squeezes of lemon juice into a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of the Dijon mustard. Whisk until blended. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of water is you need to thin it out a bit. Place the mesclun greens, arugula, separated endive leaves, potato wedges, almonds and one handful of cranberries into a bowl. Pour ¾ of dressing onto the greens and mix with your clean hands. Taste for seasoning. If you need to add the remaining dressing, do so. You are not looking for it to be soggy or overdressed. Add salt, pepper as needed to the greens.
Finish The Dish
Rewarm the fondue and whisk it. It may get a bit thick as it sits, so add a touch of water if needed. Add one ladle onto the center of a plate. Add the greens in a high stack on top of the fondue. Spread the potatoes around the edges of the greens. Garnish the fondue around the edges of the salad as well, but don’t overdress the salad with fondue. Have some bread on the table for the extra fondue.