A Twist on the Traditional Thanksgiving Menu: Fennel Arugula Salad with Baked Mushrooms

| October/Novermber 1998

Fennel-Arugula Salad with Baked Mushrooms

Warm mushroom caps with blue cheese filling are an elegant and unexpected element in this festive salad. You may prepare the filling, minus the bread crumbs, a day in advance.

•12 large mushrooms
•1 bunch green onions with some green tops, chopped
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•2 teaspoons olive oil
•1 teaspoon fennel seeds
•1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
•6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
•Feathery leaves of 2 bulbs fennel, chopped
•1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
•Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
•1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
•Olive oil
•12 cups mixed crisp greens such as arugula, frisée, escarole, and red romaine
•2 bulbs fennel (about 3/4 pounds each), trimmed and chopped
•4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
•4 tablespoons chopped green onions
•2 tablespoons fennel leaves
•1 tablespoon thyme leaves
•1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped


•6 tablespoons white balsamic or wine ­vinegar
•1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
•1/2 teaspoon paprika
•1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Remove the stems from the caps and chop coarsely; reserve the caps.

2. Briefly sauté the green onions and garlic in the olive oil, stirring. Add the mushroom stems, fennel seeds, and thyme, and continue to sauté until soft.

3. Remove from the heat and let cool. Stir in the cheese, chopped fennel leaves, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and bread crumbs.

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stuff the reserved mushroom caps loosely with the cheese filling, mounding slightly, and place them in a shallow pan. (If not serving within 15 minutes, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

5. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

6. Place a handful of greens on each chilled salad plate. Mound the chopped fennel bulb on the greens.

7. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette except the olive oil, then whisk in the oil.

8. Drizzle each salad with vinaigrette. Place a warm mushroom cap in the center and sprinkle with the parsley, green onions, fennel leaves, thyme and red bell pepper.

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