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Salad with Four Cheeses

Insalata con Quattro Formaggi

Serves 4 to 6

This intriguing salad made with four cheeses melted over Gioni Lodovici's greens picked from his country garden near Florence was so fabulous that I had a second helping. It is a perfect example of Iris's ingenuity in the kitchen.

She uses two types of Pecorino cheese, one aged and one young, along with Taleggio, a square creamy cheese from Lombardy that is high in fat. If you cannot find Taleggio, use Fontina, and for the young Pecorino, you may substitute Provolone.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound Taleggio cheese, cut into thin strips, (or Fontina)

1/4 pound aged Pecorino cheese, grated

1/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated

1/4 pound young Pecorino, cut into thin strips (or Provolone)

Grinding black pepper

3 cups mixed lettuce greens, washed and dried and cut into thin strips

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Fine sea salt to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Brush an 11- -8-inch Pyrex baking dish with one teaspoon of the olive oil. Layer the cheeses in the dish in the order given. Drizzle one teaspoon of the olive oil over the top of the cheeses and give it a grinding of black pepper.

Cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil and place the dish in the oven to melt the cheese; this should take no more than 5 minutes.

Meanwhile toss the greens in a salad bowl with the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add a pinch of salt if you wish, but remember there is salt in the cheeses.

Transfer the greens to a platter. Scoop the cheese carefully out of the baking dish and place it on top of the salad. Serve at once.

Variation: Add thin slices of black olives between the layers of cheese before putting the dish in the oven.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN TUSCANY by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2003.

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