Thursday, October 23, 2008

Salad Daze ...

I don't know about you but, here in Divaland, when the weather turns cold my zest for salad goes right out the window along with the air conditioner. I love salads, I truly do ... just not in the winter, and that's a problem. They're a relatively easy way to up your veggie quotient for the day and, really, they're delicious. But, come the first few nips of frosty air and I start composing a litany entitled: "The 47 Things I'd Rather Do Than Make or Eat Another Salad." It goes a little something like this:

  1. Shave My Head
  2. Leave the House without Mascara
  3. Give the Cats a Bath
  4. Watch Paint Dry
  5. Have a Root Canal
  6. Eat Fish
  7. Vote Republican
... ahem ... you get the idea. And, trust me, I could go on and actually list the other 40. I won't. The point is that I'm almost biologically predisposed to seasonal eating. I want raw, crisp, fresh from the garden food in the warm weather; and rich, hearty baked things when its cold. I also know I can't slack off in the veg-heavy eating. Its good for me, and good for my waistline.

Happily, I was able to combine both the savory, baked veggie goodness and a crisp, raw salad in my meal Monday night. Along with the Chicken and Chard Gratin, I served a yummy salad that was inspired by my sister in law, K ... and no doubt improved by bro's garden-fresh radicchio and escarole.

Escarole and Radicchio Salad with an Orange Vinaigrette:

  • 1 small head of radicchio
  • 1 medium sized head of escarole
  • some very thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 naval oranges or tangerines
  • 1/4 cup of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. of red wine vinegar
  • juice of one naval orange or tangerine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash and dry the escarole and radicchio thoroughly. Separate the leaves of both and shred into thin-ish strips. Toss to combine and place into a salad bowl. Reserve.

Place the thinly sliced red onion into a small bowl of ice water and allow the onion to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. This will remove any sharp, bitter flavors. Then drain and place a few slices atop the combined escarole and radicchio.

Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil into a glass measuring cup and to it add the red wine vinegar and the juice of one of the oranges or tangerines. Whisk very well, using a small wire whisk, to emulsify the dressing. Add some salt and pepper to taste and reserve.

Peel the remaining orange or tangerine and using a pairing knife, cut it carefully into sections. Place some orange sections atop each salad, drizzle with some of the vinaigrette, serve and enjoy!

Fair waring, these greens are somewhat bitter ... not unlike myself at times ... so if bitter greens aren't your thing, go ahead and substitute another type of lettuce for the escarole. I happen to like the contrast of the sharp, spicy greens and the sweet, citrus-y dressing - but your mileage may vary, of course. This salad was the perfect dish to put an end to my 47 Things Litany. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity and inspiration to get back on the beam. Thanks, again, K!

So, am I alone in my cool weather salad-shunning ways, or are you a seasonal eater too? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!


pixelgal said...

No, no no no you are not alone. As soon as the temperature changes so does my menu. I've been trying to make a salad for days now and each time I go to the fridge something else follows me back to the counter. The wee bit of lettuce remaining from the garden stays in the crisper as does the ugly looking tomato from the local produce store. But this salad looks interesting. I'll try making it and let you know what happens. I love oranges and red onions. My Italian Mommy used to eat oranges and black olives with salt, pepper and olive oil. It was as good as it sounds.

Miss Caught Up said...

Hey Diva! I wanted to stop by and leave this link for you so you can get a free layout for your blog too!

Enjoy :)

And by the way! Another recipe I need to follow!!! You're the best!

Deb said...

Heck, I live in warm weather Florida but come Sept Oct I'm yearning for butternut squash soup and roasted carrots and other yummy fall foods. I guess you get your quota of salads all summer long so the change is a good thing but I agree with Pixiegal, this salad combo may lure me back for one more good green thing before I go into winter mode!



Eat fish!! Lol!!! I think this is just like me - I too hate the idea of full salads in the winter when all you want is something warming.

Then you have these chefs who come along and tell you to make a "warming salad" but really salad is a SUMMER FOOD SO GET OVER IT, WE'RE NOT GOING TO EAT!!!!

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there! I want potatoes and carrots and peas that are actually warming.

That said, I am eating a lot of peppers lately and will be sticking them in my cheese and german salami wrap in an hour so maybe I'm just a hypocrit...
Oh well, what's a girl to do eh?

Scarlet xx

The Diva on a Diet said...

Yay, I'm not alone! :)

pixelgal - your mama's combination is a classic for sure. Common in both Spain and Italy. I might have done the same ... were it not for the fact that I was out of olives!

MCU - thanks for the link. Love your new layout!

Deb - how interesting that you experience the seasonal shift even in your warm climate. Who knew?

Yes, Scarlet, potatoes, carrots, soups, stews - bring 'em on! I could do with something warming right now as we've gotten quite chilly here this week. Rather nice actually. :)