Brie en Croute Salad

24 Feb

Photo 2013-02-23 10.56.17 PM

Contrary to what most of this blog would have you believe, I don’t eat like a disgusting blob 100% of the time.  Sometimes I eat green things, and every once in a while one of those things isn’t frosting.  It’s a miracle, really.  But yes, it turns out sometimes you have to put a salad in your mouth so your arteries don’t implode, and that doesn’t necessarily have to be a ranch-drenched monstrosity.

One of the things us Americans like to do is disguise horrendously unhealthy things with supposedly healthy food items, thereby utterly destroying them both.  Take the taco salad, for instance.  You combine something perfectly delicious, the taco, with something simple and honest, the salad, and create something that looks like a really, really badly made taco.  In a bowl.  Surrounded by soggy-ass lettuce and sub-edible ground beef.

Basically, that’s where my mind went.  “Let’s make something unhealthy into a salad.  And not have it suck.”  And wouldn’t you know it, brie en croute (baked brie for those of you who can’t make the croute-crouton-bread connection) is both completely bad for you and completely good for your taste buds.  Plus, it’s got all the things that go in a salad!  Cheese!  Nuts!  Fruit!  Croute…ons!

So I took all those things, made them into a Brie en Croute Salad, and it was good.  The end.  Let’s eat some stuff.

Here’s what you need:

-12 oz fresh blackberries

-1/4 cup sugar

-3 tbsp water

– 1 tbsp lemon juice

-pinch salt

-2 dashes cinnamon

-1 cup mixed greens (or however much fills whatever $2 monochrome Target bowl you have lying around)

-1 croissant

-1/4 cup slivered almonds (or walnuts)

-2 tbsp olive oil

– salt/pepper

– 4 oz brie

Here’s how you do it:

There’s two parts of this recipe that actually require cooking and heat, and both of those can pretty much just hang out on the stove-top until they’re delicious.  After that, it’s just chopping and combining some stuff in a bowl.

Photo 2013-02-23 08.05.35 PM

First, you’re gonna make a blackberry compote.  Take the berries, sugar, water, lemon juice, salt, and cinnamon, and dump them all in a small saucepan.

Photo 2013-02-23 08.05.58 PM Photo 2013-02-23 08.06.21 PM

Put the heat on medium, stir, and leave it while you do everything else.  You’re gonna want to give it a stir once in a while, and crush the berries so it gets more saucy, but other than that you can leave it alone.  Just make sure it’s simmering.

While that’s on the stove, prepare the rest of the salad by putting the greens and cut up pieces of brie in your bowls or plates or whatever you like eating on.  Now’s not the time to get all whiny about “I don’t like  the rind it tastes weird and it’s not cheese”. It tastes fine, and more importantly, it holds the pieces of cheese together so you don’t end up with a big runny mess.

Photo 2013-02-23 08.06.47 PM Photo 2013-02-23 09.23.45 PM

Next, cut up your croissant into roughly 1/2 inch pieces, and put some olive oil in a medium-sized pan.  Turn the heat to medium, let the oil heat up, and add the croissant bits and almonds.

Photo 2013-02-23 11.03.04 PM

Season with salt and pepper, and again, let it sit.  Every couple of minutes give it a quick toss, and eventually you should have nice, toasty, fatter versions of croutons.  Unless you feel like not listening to me, in which case I can’t really stop you, try and take them off the stove just a bit before they reach crouton/diamond hardness.  They’re better when they have just a little give.

See?  Give.  Not hard as crap.

See? Give. Not hard as crap.

By now your compote should be ready, and even if it isn’t…it’s sugary, berry goodness.  Just pour that crap on there.  Add some croutons/almonds, a bit of the compote on top, and there you have it.  A salad that’s both based off another dish and not completely embarrassing to its source material.  Dreams can come true.  Someone call in Timothy Cricket or whoever that Disney inspirational nonsense character is.

Sit down and relax with some beats to go with your bowl.  This week it’s The Session by Kuniyuki Takahashi, featuring Henrik Schwarz and Yoshihiro Tsukahara:

It’s a simple concept, folks.  If you’re gonna take two delicious things and mash ’em together, make sure the end product is equally delicious, if not more so.  That’s really all I ask.  I like hamburgers.  I like potato chips.  Why you gotta go and combine them into something that tastes like neither?  Last I checked, potatoes are supposed to go with rosemary, dill, salt.  Not hamburger. Hamburger’s not a spice, it’s a 5 inch tall tower of meat and condiments that starts on a grill and goes in my mouth.  Start treating it like that.

Note:  I didn’t have my photographer handy, so I had to take all the pictures while I was cooking.  I was tired.  I’m sorry.

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