Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Grilled Romaine Heart, bacon and blue cheese Finger Salad

This is a great "Man's salad" to serve guys that won't eat salads. Sell them on the bacon and blue cheese.  Plus, you get to grill lettuce.  How crazy is that!

I always see these packages of romaine heart lettuce in the store and think "Who's eating this much caesar salad?"  So I started looking into what else you can use this stuff for.  This recipe is based on one I found at Saveur.com and it was an instant classic.


6 strips Bacon
5 Romaine lettuce hearts
4 oz Blue Cheese
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Ground Black Pepper and Salt to taste


The Bacon:

  • Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat, turning once for about 10 minutes. Until it's crispy and the fat is rendered.  Keep about 2 Tbsp of this "drippings" (fat) for later.
  • Remove the bacon to a plate to cool.  Once cool, crumble it into small pieces.  
  • Place the drippings in a small bowl and add the 2 tbsp Olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.  Whisk until smooth and set aside for later...

Prep the lettuce: 

  • Cut a thin slice of the root end to remove any brown parts; but not too much as you want the lettuce to stay together.
  • Slice the lettuce in half length wise.  Remove any lose leaves.  It is preferable to have a nice tight lettuce heart.
  • I like to drizzle olive oil over the lettuce as this point.  Not too much (unless you are from the Mediterranean).
Now to the BBQ:

  • Heat your BBQ up beyond medium heat.  Oil the grill with something like grape seed oil.  
  • Place the lettuce cut side down on the grill until slightly charred and then turn over.  The leaves will be slightly wilted, about 3-4 minutes depending on heat.  Watch it close.
  • Remove from grill and place on a serving tray with cut side up (this will catch all the goodness to come!)
  • Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the dripping dressing, and crumble the blue cheese and bacon of the top.

This makes a great appy or side salad to many dishes.  You can pick it up to eat or use a knife and fork.

Personally anytime you get to grill something that you never would have thought to grill its awesome. Remember that blue cheese goes great with Port.  Maybe have a desert that brings in a hint of blue cheese and serve a glass of Port.  Oh Ya!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Wild Boar Sausage Pasta

Sometimes you see something and you say " I just gotta have that!!"
Walking through the Cioffis butcher shop on Hastings near Boundary Road I saw these Wild Boar Sausages in the freezer section.  I didn't know what I was going to do with them but I'd think of something.  I've had Wild Boar Prosciutto before and it was so flavourful I had to try these sausages.  I blame my fascination with wild boar on my grade 7 English teacher that made us read "The Lord of the Flies."

Feeds about 4 - 6, takes about an hour.


1 lb wild boar sausages
1 1/2 lbs fresh kale
4 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups tomato puree (blend a large can of crushed tomatoes)
1/2 cup dry red wine
ground salt and pepper
2 cups pasta ( I use Truroots Organic Gluten-Free Penne Pasta from Costco)
Crushed red chilli flakes to taste


  • Peel casings off sausages. Break into small pieces,
  • Trim heavy stems from kale and keep the leaves, rinse.  Chop kale leaves

  • Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 4 -5 quart heavy skillet, salute pan or casserole. 
  • Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring over medium heat until softened.
  • Add sausages and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown.

  • Add about 1/3 of the kale and when it has wilted, continue adding kale until all has wilted.

starting to wilt the kale

  • Stir in tomato puree and wine
  • Simmer over low heat about 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper, cover and continue simmering.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente (follow package instructions) about 8 minutes.
  • Drain well and add to kale mixture.
  • Add remaining olive oil and fold ingredients together
  • Add chili flakes and more salt if needed, Stir a little more 
  • Serve and yum it up!

It was a quick throw together on a Tuesday night after work for this meal.  The kale was from the garden, I took the sausage out of the freezer in the morning and it was go time when we got home.  We had a nice Pinot Noir with this and it really set it off right, especially for a Tuesday night!  No flies to "Lord" over with this recipe!

This recipe was based on pasta with wild boar sausage and kale from the New York Times Cooking section.  Thank you.