Salad with warm roasted mushrooms and smoked gouda

Looking at this picture (which breaks all the food picture rules, apparently, because they don’t like sunlight and they don’t like shadows!) reminds me of these forts my boys make in the summertime. They’ll crawl under the branches of some large bush and they’ll bring a few toys in. And that’s pretty much it! That’s the fort. I remember doing that when I was little. Hiding under green branches, with the warm sun shining through and setting all the leaves aglow like they were stained glass. So this is another wintery salad, but it makes me think about summertime, with its greenness. It has some red romaine leaves; topped with warm chard, kale and spinach; topped again with roasted mushrooms; on top of that you throw some fresh tarragon leaves; and then you put thin curly slivers of smoked gouda on top of it all. Summery cause it’s so green/wintery cause it’s so roast-y smokey.

Here’s Jeffrey Lewis’ Springtime. It’s a remarkable piece of music. I know spring is a long way off, but time has been flying lately.

7 nice romaine leaves, washed (red romaine is pretty, but any romaine will do!) Stem-y part removed, torn into pieces

handfuls of greens – kale, spinach, chard

One batch roasted mushrooms
smoked gouda to peel into long thin stips
1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
olive oil
balsamic
salt & plenty of pepper

Put the romaine leaves on a plate or in a bowl.

Boil some salted water in a pot. Add the kale and chard and spinach – in that order – 2 minutes apart. When they’re soft and bright green, drain them and rinse them with cold water. Chop them up and throw them on top of the romaine.

Take the roasted mushrooms out of the oven and put them on top of the greens. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over, and the tarragon, and the thin slivers of cheese. Pour on a bit of balsamic and olive oil.

Bit of salt, lots of freshly ground pepper. ANd…eat.

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3 thoughts on “Salad with warm roasted mushrooms and smoked gouda

  1. I don’t think this breaks any rules at all, I know that the supposed ‘professionals’ choose to use artificial lights and reflectors to give totally overall even lighting and that they often ‘primp’ parts of the subject to create highlights etc, but this looks totally natural. I will make one comment; were you to use a smallish f stop, ie f8+ and focus about 1/3 of the distance into the dish, then everything would be in sharp focus, as it is now the back of the dish is sharp but the front edge is slightly out of focus. Using a small f stop stretches the depth of focus.
    It looks great.

  2. Thanks, Tony! I’ll try out your advice.

    It just seemed so strange to me the other day – looking at some pictures of food – I couldn’t really see any shadows. I wonder how they do that? I guess artificial lights and reflectors, as you say!

  3. Claire: With most studio photography nowadays, whatever the subject, it’s common to use a bank of off camera strobes. They’re usually aimed into or onto reflectors which are aimed at the subject; this gives an overall diffuse shadowless light. If you have a strobe you can get an approximation of this effect by pointing it directly upward, assuming there’s a light colored ceiling, the light will reflect down and give an even, shadowless, diffused lighting.

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