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These delicious snacks utilize the flavors of four contrasting elements, yet the melange is surprisingly well balanced. A somewhat hearty offering for teatime, this could be enjoyed as a casual snack with cocktails or a cold beer.
- For Salad:
- 1 ripe pear
- 4 inner butter lettuce leaves
- 2 cups lightly packed young, tender watercress sprigs
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese or other good-quality blue cheese
- For Toasts:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 pound fresh portobello or shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean and diced
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus pepper to taste
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4 slices dense-textured white sandwich bread
Preheat a broiler or a grill.
FOR SALAD: Halve and core the pear. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, cut into very thin slices, then cut the slices into julienne strips. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and watercress. Drizzle on the walnut oil, toss well, add the vinegar and toss again. Season lightly with the extra salt and pepper, and toss to mix. Add the julienned pear and the cheese, toss gently.
FOR TOASTS: In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt half of the butter. When the foam subsides, add the mushrooms and shallot and sauté until the juices are released, 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 1-2 minutes. Add the parsley, tarragon, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and the cayenne pepper and toss to mix. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices have evaporated and the mixture is dry, about 5 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter. Using a small pastry brush, lightly brush both sides of each bread slice with the melted butter. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and place under the broiler (or place directly on the grill). Toast, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the broiler (grill).
Using a serrated knife, trim the crusts from the toasts. Cut each toast in half on the diagonal, and place 2 halves on each individual plate. When the mushrooms are ready, spread the mixture evenly on the toasts.
TO SERVE: Divide the salad among the plates. Serve while the toasts are still warm.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
576 calories; 47g total fat; 108mg cholesterol; 892mg sodium; 26g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 9g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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