Chef Dez: Mmm… bacon fat dressing

There are not many foods that I don’t like, raw mushrooms are one of them. Cooked mushrooms are great, but it’s the texture of raw mushrooms that I find mostly unappealing.

That was my motivation for creating the following recipe. I thought to myself: “What could I do to raw mushrooms, other than cooking them, to make them more tempting?” The result is this incredible salad. I always joke that one could put bacon on anything and it would taste good, so I decided to try bacon as a dressing on mushrooms – it worked.

If you don’t want the dressing to be spicy, then eliminate or reduce the amount of the sambal oelek. Sambal oelek is a crushed chilli paste/liquid that can be found down the imported foods section of almost any major grocery store.

It can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, but keep the dressing separate from the salad if doing so. Once tossed together it will start to pull moisture from the mushrooms and make it overly wet if sitting for a long period of time.

Mushroom Salad with Spicy Bacon Dressing

Makes 8-12 portions as a side dish.

Use any mixture of mushrooms that are available at your market – what I have listed here is my recommendation.

600g white button mushrooms, quartered

200g shitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered

200g portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated

1 green bell pepper, diced small

1 red bell pepper, diced small

4 green onions, sliced

1 handful fresh parsley, minced

Dressing

250g bacon slices, cooked crisp, drained and fat reserved

5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp Dijon mustard

5 tsp sambal oelek

2 tsp liquid honey

2 tsp anchovy paste, or 2 anchovies from a can

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

In a food processor, process the crisp bacon into fine bits, approximately 30 seconds on high.

Scrape down the sides of the food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and the remaining dressing ingredients except for the olive oil.

Turn the processor on high and drizzle the olive oil slowly into the moving mixture. Once the oil has been added, continue to puree on high for approximately 30 seconds to one minute.

Toss and serve.

 

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