Owner of Blue Heron Cafe in both Traverse City and Cadillac, Brian Williams shares thoughts from his kitchen as well as a recipe for summer vegetable salad. Both the recipe and the write-up were originally published in the July 2014 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
The recipe for Brian Williams’s signature sourdough bread captures the essence of his cooking style, says the chef himself. With deft skill, he transforms a flour-water-salt trilogy into loaves of cloud-filled crust. “The best cooking is made from simple ingredients, great technique and creativity,” he says. In his two Blue Heron Cafes (Cadillac and Traverse City), Brian parlays a similar philosophy into dishes like minestrone with pea shoots and Asiago cheese and scrambled eggs with goat cheese and house-smoked salmon—menu items that reveal his deep passion for creating memorable breakfast and lunch offerings. While his two establishments are similar, Brian says to expect an even greater emphasis on locally grown products at the new Traverse City location, where artisan farmers are closer at hand. Catch the flavor of the Blue Heron way of eating in this ideal summer salad.
Summer Vegetable Salad with Apple Cider & Butter Vinaigrette
6 cups mixed greens (with frisée included)
¼ cup shaved red onion
1 medium pear, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh green beans,poached and cooled
1 dozen asparagus spears, poached and cooled
3 grilled ears of corn, cooled, kernels
3 medium-boiled eggs (place in cold water, bring to boil and turn off heat. Let sit in hot water for 8 minutes, place in ice water.)
6 ounces goat cheese
12 ounces smoked salmon, flaked with bones removed
4 cups apple cider vinegar, reduce 4 cups to 6 oz.
½ cup honey
about an inch of fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons butter, softened
Reduce vinegar to glaze. While still warm, add honey to melt. Add rest of ingredients. Evenly divide salad ingredients on six plates (cutting medium-boiled eggs in half lengthwise). Drizzle liberally with warm dressing and serve.