Alpine salad's success depends on cheese
By Joe Gray
This unusual salad from "Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes," by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, is based on fontina, a creamy, nutty-tasting cow's milk cheese from the region of Valle d'Aosta in the Italian Alps.
"With a chunk of fontina or other fine cheese and some tasty vegetables ... you have the basis for a zesty Alpine salad any time of the year," she writes.
The success of the salad is dependent on the quality of the cheese. Look for real Italian fontina. Bastianich advises using freshly roasted bell peppers, but you could used jarred.
The cream imparts a rich texture, but you may substitute 1/4 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon skim milk. We have cut the amount of dressing in half after finding that the original recipe called for more than we needed for the salad. The salad may be assembled and dressed an hour in advance and refrigerated.
ROASTED-PEPPER AND OLIVE SALAD WITH FONTINA
• 6 roasted yellow bell peppers, or 3 cups jarred roasted peppers, cut in 1/4-inch strips (see note)
• 1/4 pound fontina, cut in 3/4-inch matchsticks
• 1 cup pitted large green olives, sliced in 3/4-inch slivers
• 1/4 cup whipping cream
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 1/4 teaspoons cider vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Toss peppers, cheese and olives together in a bowl. Whisk together the cream, mustard, vinegar and salt in a small bowl; whisk in the olive oil gradually until emulsified. Pour dressing over the salad; toss to coat. Let salad sit at room temperature so flavors blend, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley; toss.
Note: To roast peppers, coat with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in 300-degree oven, turning occasionally, until skins are wrinkled and slightly charred, 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Peel; scrape out seeds.
Makes 6 servings.
• Per serving: 266 calories, 69 percent of calories from fat, 20 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 10 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 617 mg sodium, 3 g fiber