Chanterelle, Bacon and Plum Salad with Blue Cheese

It’s week 2 of the Summer Fest! Last week we played around with herbs and this week it’s time for fruit from trees. If you haven’t yet heard about Summer Fest, it’s a four-week celebration of fresh-from-the-garden food: recipes, growing tips, even tricks for storing and preserving summer’s best with my co-hosts White on Rice, Away to Garden and Matt Bites. Of course, It’s not a party without your participation! And I’ll tell you how in just a bit.

My contribution to this week’s “fruit from trees” is a warm salad made with juicy, sweet caramelized plums… barely sauteed fresh chanterelles, crumbly blue cheese and crisp savory bacon. This was a recipe that I made two nights in a row…it was such a hit.

Chanterelles may be hard to find, but any type of mushroom would do…from sliced, meaty portabello to velvety white button mushrooms.

And of course any type of stone fruit would work in this recipe. Please don’t limit this to just plums but experiment with peaches and nectarines.

The bacon? Oh honey, there’s no substitute for the bacon. Do 10 push-ups tomorrow.

My Friends at Earthy.com surprised me with a pound of beautiful trumpet-shaped Michigan chanterelles.

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After trimming the ends, the smaller ones get halved…and the larger chantrelles are quartered.

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Chanterelles are so beautiful that I’d hate to drown them in any type of sauce. Michael Ruhlman suggested that I keep them pretty simple with minimal ingredients so that I would enjoy the full flavor of the wild mushrooms. Simple? Sure, I could do that. Sauteed ’em in bacon drippings. Can life be any simpler than warm bacon drippings?

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Okay I’m going to teach you how to cut stone fruit into nice, even wedges. The problem with stone fruit is that there is a pit in the middle. And sometimes it’s a bitch to get out without tearing up the flesh. So here’s how I do it. Listen good, because it involves a highly technical term called plum asscrack. Find the plum’s crack – STOP LAUGHING – and hold your knife parallel to the crack, about a little more than 1/4-inch to the SIDE of the asscrack. See the crack? It’s just to the left of my knife.

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Now cut. The The seat of the plum is oval-ish and cutting it this way is the most efficient method.

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Now turn the plum around to the other side and 1/4-inch to side of the plum asscrack, cut again.  Now you’ve got two nice, big, plum asscheeks.

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Cut these babies into wedges.

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Oh but we’re not done yet! That middle section with the seed? Angle your knife and cut around the seed for two more wedges.

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Can you imagine me trying to explain this process without photos? You think I was nuts!

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Chanterelle, Bacon and Plum Salad with Blue Cheese Recipe

Adapted from scandinavian-cookbookThe Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann

serves 4

1/2 pound bacon, cubed
1/2 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, brushed clean and halved or quartered
salt and pepper
2 ripe plums, pitted and cut into wedges
4 cups mixed lettuce leaves (I prefer arugula)
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Put the bacon cubes in a large frying pan or saute pan, and turn the heat to medium-high. When the bacon starts cooking and crisping up, turn the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring until crisp on both sides. Remove the bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the pan (discard the rest of the bacon drippings). Let bacon drain on a paper towel.

2. In the same pan on medium-high heat, saute the mushrooms for 4 minutes. Push the mushrooms to one side of the frying pan. On the other side, lay the plum wedges and cook 1 minute each side. By this time, the mushrooms will have cooked through. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper.

3. Assemble salad by combining the bacon, blue cheese, chanterelles, plums and lettuce. Be light and gentle. Drizzle with the dressing. Serve immediately.

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What did my co-hosts make for the Summer Fest Party?

peach-clafoutis-3 Margaret Roach of Away to Garden ditched the flour and made a super simple Peach Clafoutis, that old friend Martha Stewart taught her.

ginger-peach-pandowdy Marilyn of Simmer Til Done shows us her gorgeous Ginger Peach Pandowdy…what’s a pandowdy? Go find out!

Paige of Hey Little Sister tells us a tale about The Perils of Pie…oh the pie crisis!

mattbites_apricots Only Matt of Matt Bites can pull off an Apricot Ice Cream while RAPPING to Supersonic.

peach-cooler1-576x863 Peach Cooler! Look at those perfect peaches from White On Rice’s garden! It’s even kid friendly (sshhh…I’m adding a bit of rum to that drink!)

gluten-free-fruit-crumble While Shauna is on vacation, Margaret snuck into her blog and pulled out a Gluten Free Fruit Crumble from 2007!

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