I was a bit dubious about this salad as I was preparing it. It wasn’t that I haven’t experienced and enjoyed warm-dressing salads before; it was just that the combination of ingredients sounded a bit contrary. Cold endive and warm roasted yukon gold potatoes? Vinaigrette with a gruyere fondue-type sauce? Yet it sounded irresistably appealing.

So the family gathered in the kitchen to make a unique Easter Sunday salad lunch to tide us over until evening when the roast beef, mashed potatoes, asparagus, corn and fresh bread would be ready. One person sliced potatoes, one browned the bacon, one rinsed and spun the greens, one mixed the vinaigrette and the white wine sauce and, before long, we were eating a fabulous lunch that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

The white wine sauce would be wonderful alone with a fresh pasta.

Roasting the potatoes takes time, as well as making the different sauces, but I think you’ll really enjoy my variation of a recipe that I found published in a 2004 issue of Country Home magazine, created by Red Cat chef Jimmy Bradley.

Be sure the potatoes aren’t too thick and that they lay in a single layer, or they won’t cook evenly.



Gruyere Fondue Salad

8 oz gruyere cheese, finely grated and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 oz fresh shitake mushrooms, rinsed and de-stemmed
1 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, chopped, or two cloves or garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups arugula
2 cups belgian endive, chopped, or romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups arugula, torn

Mix vinaigrette: In a screw-top jar, combine vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil and sugar. Shake to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a greased baking sheet in a single layer on one end of the baking pan. Roast, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes.

Toss mushrooms with remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms to other end of the baking pan after potatoes have roasted for ten minutes, then bake ten minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine wine and shallots or garlic. Bring to a boil. Boil for about 4 minutes or until wine is reduced to 3/4 cup. Stir together the softened butter and the flour, then add it to the wine mixture, stirring well. Add whipping cream. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Reduce heat to medium-low; gradually add the grated cheese, little by little, stirring after each addition until all the cheese has been added and melted.

Combine the potatoes, mushrooms, greens and vinaigrette.

Divide the warm cheese among six bowls and top each with the potatoes and greens mixture. Top with crumbled bacon. Serve while still warm.

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