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Kirk's Traveling Kitchen News and Blog

Restaurant Dispatch from Portland, Oregon

Kirk Warner

The times that I’ve visited the Rose City of Portland I am always blown away with the breadth of restaurants available to the residents of such a small city. I asked my Uber driver who supports all of these fine eating establishments, to which he replied “people who work at the other restaurants” and, after a short pause “visitors”. As a recent visitor I was super excited to score a table at the tiny restaurant on the Western outskirts of town: Coquine (https://www.coquinepdx.com). In a city where almost all the exciting restaurants are in neighborhoods or in unexpected spaces tucked around the corner from an airbnb (my first restaurant visited was in a retrofitted garage/car dealership), Coquine is a bit of a drive from everything. Getting to it can be part of the pleasure, it really allows you to take in the “quirk” of PDX. Bathtubs in the front yard made into planters or bungee lines between houses, it is the city that started the “Keep ____ Weird” movement now popularized in college towns. Once at Coquine however any idea for strangeness goes straight out the window. It is a restaurant with incredible restraint and finesse. One where I could easily pick out produce in the dishes featuring items from the early season Portland Farmer’s Market i’d stepped through that morning. In a city where part of the charm is controlled chaos, it is a charming place that serves delicious, simple food that looks easy to make (but is absolutely not). One of my favorite dishes was a Leek Vinaigrette Salad with Shaved Raw Cauliflower, here is my much less subtle version with roasted cauliflower with crisp prosciutto:

Little Gem Salad with Roasted Cauliflower & Crisp Prosciutto

Little Gem or Romaine Lettuce, Washed & Chopped            6 Cups

Radicchio, Washed & Chopped                                              ½ Small Head


Crusty Bread, Cubed                                                               2 Cups

Butter, Melted                                                                         ¼ Cup

Kosher Salt & Fresh Black Pepper                                          To Taste


Cauliflower, Cut into 1/8, Sliced ½ “ thick                              ½ Head

Kosher Salt & Fresh Black Pepper                                          To Taste

Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                             As Needed

Prosciutto, Sliced (Parma or San Daniele)                              2-3oz.


Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette (Makes 2 Cups, Whisk to Combine)

Balsamic Vinegar, (Good but Not Great)                                1/3 Cup

Dijon Mustard                                                                         2 Tablespoons

Fresh Lemon Juice                                                                  1 Lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                             1 ¼ Cups

Herbs, Minced (Chives, Parsley and Thyme)                         2 Tablespoons

Kosher Salt & Fresh Black Pepper                                          To Taste


Preparation Procedure-


Preheat oven to 375d.. Toss cubed bread with melted butter/oil and season thoroughly with salt & pepper. Spread out on sheet pan and bake on bottom rack in oven until browned and crisp, about 18-20 minutes. Toss cut cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper until just coated. Carefully wrap in thin slice of prosciutto and lay on parchment lined sheet tray. (You’ll want 2-3 pieces per person.) Bake prosciutto wrapped cauliflower until prosciutto starts to crisp and cauliflower becomes tender 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool. 


Arrange lettuce and radicchio on plate, top with crushed croutons (use a food processor or mortar/pestle for this) and cauliflower. Drizzle with lemon-balsamic dressing.