Frisee Salad, Welsh Rarebit Crouton, Vinaigrette

I certainly encourage you to experiment with incorporating your own favorite local brews

By Jonathon Hartig

If you like beer, the Flathead Valley is a great place to be, offering a great selection of local brews. Incorporating local beers into cooking is a fun way to create perfect dishes for the spring and summer seasons when you’ll be sitting outdoors, enjoying family and friends. On April 24, the Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC will present a Microbrew Chef’s Table dinner. The students have created a wonderful five course meal which will feature beers from the Tamarack Brewing Company and Flathead Lake Brewing Company. This has been an exciting adventure for everyone involved, and I wanted to share our salad/cheese course with you. We incorporated Tamarack’s Sip & Go Naked Apricot Ale into the vinaigrette and used Flathead Lake Brewing Company’s 369 Stout for the rarebit. I certainly encourage you to experiment with incorporating your own favorite local brews!

For the Salad:

2 heads frisee(European pale curly endive)

1/2 lb. thick cut bacon, 1/4” diced

4 eggs

1 Tbsp. vinegar

For the Rarebit Crouton:

4 slices bread, ciabatta or French loaf

Melted butter or oil to brush bread

2 Tbsp. butter

4 cups extra sharp cheddar, grated

4 oz. stout beer

2 tsp. dry mustard powder

Worcestershire sauce, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Vinaigrette:

3 oz. pale ale

1 Tbsp. shallot, minced

1 tsp. orange zest

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Salad:

Cut away any outer dark green leaves, and slice off the bottom one inch of the frisee head. Separate the leaves and wash in cold water. Tear the leaves and spin dry or dry on towels. Set aside. Cook bacon until browned and crispy. Set aside. Poach eggs in water with vinegar, remove from liquid and place in a water bath to cool. Set aside.

For the Crouton:

Brush each slice of bread with melted butter or oil and bake until just crispy. Set aside. Melt butter over low heat, add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in beer, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper until blended. Allow mixture to cool. Spread mixture on each bread slice and bake under a broiler until the rarebit is slightly browned. Remove from oven, let cool and slice into crouton-sized cubes.

For the Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl, whisk beer with the shallot, orange zest, honey and mustard. Gradually add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble:

Toss salad in the vinaigrette and place in bowls. Sprinkle bacon and croutons over salad and top with poached egg.

Tickets for the Microbrew Dinner are sold out; however, a few tickets are still available for the Winemaker Dinner on April 17. Jonathon Hartig is the Executive Sous Chef/Instructional Assistant at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College.  For more information, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.

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