We had a brief relief from winter this week in New York. This is the first December I can remember where I’m not rushing to finish final papers and wrap up four months worth of school. I would usually be making cookies or cakes to fuel late nights in the library. This year, though, the intensity is different. Work is busy as any holiday season in retail or food service is. I’m wanting more hearty and energizing foods. And colorful ones, to combat the ever-gray skyline. My ‘weekends’ fall mid-week. During these pauses, I try to make time to visit my family every other week or so. My parent’s kitchen is my favorite place to cook. They have endless appliances and a refrigerator full of bounty from the farmer’s market. The challenge of putting together dinner with someone else’s groceries is fun. It facilitates creativity and often gives way to new ideas and recipes.
Yesterday, I found big bunches of purple kale, radicchio, clementines, apples and eggs. An apple I ate while cooking and set the kale aside for some kind of pasta (recipe to come soon!). Radicchio is one of my favorite vegetables. The whole family of bitter greens: endive, radicchio, treviso. They sweeten when cooked and have a silken texture. But raw, they have a bite. I found a recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy, one of my favorite cookbooks to come out in the past few years. There is so much information in it. She has a recipe for a chopped radicchio salad with egg, parsley and walnut-shallot vinaigrette. A fresh salad this time of year always appeals, especially it has a bit of body. I tweaked her recipe here, switching out walnut oil for hazelnut, adding toasted almonds and clementine slices. I love how the sweetness of the citrus balances the bite of radicchio. The rich nutty flavors offer a solid base.
adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy
for the salad:
1 head radicchio
1 hard boiled egg
1/4 cup toasted finely chopped almonds
for the dressing:
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
3 tbsp hazelnut oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
Quarter the radicchio and remove the tough base of the stem. Finely slice crosswise and place in a wide bowl. Chop up the hardboiled egg and add. Peel the clementines and slice crosswise, pulling the discs into segments. Prepare the dressing and add to taste. Garnish with toasted almonds.