Savor & Swirl: From the recipe box of Matt Milani, The Rumor Mill

  • Matt Milani, executive chef and owner of The Rumor Mill, shares his recipes for potato and spinach salad and pear blossom cocktail.
Matt Milani, executive chef and owner of The Rumor Mill, shares… (photo by Brian Krista )
October 04, 2011|By Diane Pajak

Matt Milani, executive chef and owner of Historic Ellicott City’s The Rumor Mill Fusion Bar & Restaurant, agreed to be the first chef to offer his personal recipes for a dish and drink for this new feature in Howard Magazine -- Savor & Swirl. Here’s a dish we hope you can enjoy at home as well as a drink to complement.

Milani reflects:

This recipe reminds me of my mother, who made sure we always had a salad at dinnertime. She often tried new recipes so that we’d have different salad dressings, greens and garnishes all the time. I also remember that my mom would also order a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing when we went to a restaurant that served them.

So this is my play on a classic spinach salad with warm bacon dressing and hard-boiled eggs: I do a warm spinach and potato salad with cold bacon marmalade and a poached egg. We have a version of this salad on the menu at The Rumor Mill almost year-round. The bacon marmalade recipe makes more than you’ll need for this salad, but it keeps well and is good on just about anything.

Potato & Spinach Salad (Serves two)

Salad Ingredients:
- 1 cup potatoes, cubed (you can use red,
purple, yellow or sweet potatoes)    
- 10 ounces baby spinach,
washed and stemmed if necessary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup white wine
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
- 1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
- Bacon marmalade (recipe follows)
- 2 large eggs, poached

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cubed potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt, and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and slightly crispy, 40 to 50 minutes. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the butter, Dijon mustard and wine. Stir ingredients together until sauce begins to come together and begins to thicken.

Add the roasted potatoes and lower the heat. Add spinach and remove pan from heat. Toss spinach in pan to coat with dressing (spinach will wilt).

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the spinach and potato mixture between two plates. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Top each saladwith one poached egg and with some bacon marmalade. Serve immediately.

Bacon Marmalade

- 1 pound smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook the bacon until it starts to becomes crisp. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until the onion becomes translucent and the bacon is crispy. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. After the liquid is reduced, remove from the heat and place into a food processor and pulse the contents until slightly smooth. Store in an air-tight container.

Pear Blossom Cocktail

- 3 ounces pear vodka
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1 ounce lychee purée
Mix in a mixing tin over ice and strain.
Serve in a chilled martini glass.

About Milani

He’s a graduate of Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, a Le Cordon Bleu program. He holds degrees in culinary arts, pastry, and hotel and restaurant management, in addition to a sommelier certificate.

About The Rumor Mill Fusion Bar & Restaurant
8069 Tiber Alley, Ellicott City • 410-461-0041
Monday-Friday, opens at 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, opens at noon
“Very happy hour,” Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m., Sunday all day

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