mix of grapefruit, blood oranges and mandarins forms
the base for this salad, while endive and radicchio
provide contrasting bitterness.
salad. What makes a great salad? Fresh, crisp produce. What
makes a salad extraordinary? Balance and surprise.
a stunning salad made from four citrus fruits, hearty
endives and colorful chicories on the menu at The Progress
in San Francisco. There, chef-owners Stuart Brioza and
Nicole Krasinski shave ricotta salata in thin curls over the
salad to transport it well beyond any predictable bowl of
course, salads prove best when composed with in-season
produce. The neat and tidy piles of red and green
radicchios, endives and chicories we spied on a visit to the
San Francisco farmers market in the Ferry Building help
demystify the chefs’ creation. Likewise, the inspiring
variety of fresh, seasonal citrus at nearby stalls.
home, I am happy to find a wide selection of citrus in large
supermarkets. That means I can add wedges of satsuma
mandarins, slices of Oro Blanco grapefruit and blood orange
to my salad and Meyer lemon in the dressing.
the greens, I turn to Deborah Madison for help understanding
endive. In her "Vegetable Literacy," Madison
writes of the confusing nomenclature of chicories and
endive. She gives their Latin names, Chichorium intybus and
Chichorium endivia. What really matters to me is that these
are greens with sturdy leaves and slightly bitter flavors.
Delicious for pairing with the citrus.
of us can find plump heads of Belgian endive and magenta-red
Chioggia radicchio. It’s more unusual to find Treviso —
those oblong heads that taste milder than Chioggia
radicchio. Curly endive and escarole tend to be readily
available, but require just the right dressing to counter
their bitter toughness. I employ vinegars with deep flavor,
strong cheese and rich toppings such as toasted nuts, smoked
ham, hard-cooked eggs.
favorite cold weather salad combines roast chicken with
pickles. Yes, chicken salad can be relevant during cold
weather months. The trick is to serve the combination
without chilling it like we do in summer. Plus, a bit of
smoky chipotle in the dressing warms up everything.
key to good chicken salad is using top-notch chicken, of
course. In a pinch, I’ll use a rotisserie chicken from the
grocery store and pull the meat away from the skin and
bones. However, most rotisserie chickens tend to have a
mushy texture and dry meat.
is homemade roasted chicken — there’s no prep time, just
oven time. So, when I’m roasting chicken for Sunday
dinner, I make an extra for weeknight cooking. One small
chicken yields about 4 cups of shredded meat.
supermoist chicken, I poach boneless skinless pieces in
chicken broth. It takes less than 15 minutes to poach
chicken this way and the texture is worth the time. A bonus:
Flavorful poaching liquid to use in soups or stews later or
season with salt and a pinch of curry powder for a liquid,
FOR SALAD GREATNESS
dressing. The single best way to improve your salads is to
blend a few ingredients in a jar for a superior-tasting, low
sugar, no preservative topping. Dressings can range from
vinegar and oil to more elaborate concoctions with cream,
fresh herbs or interesting spices. Homemade vinaigrettes and
salad dressings keep well in the refrigerator — a week or
so for cream-based, longer for simple vinaigrettes. Use them
at room temperature for maximum flavor and palatability.
Think freshness from crisp salad greens, crunchy green
onions and perfectly ripe tomatoes when in season.
Nuts and croutons, obviously, but other options include
crisp apples, raw root vegetables such as diced kohlrabi,
shredded beets, carrot curls and paper-thin radish slices.
This could come from a delicious olive oil drizzle, shreds
or cubes of cheese, avocado chunks or bits of cooked bacon.
A tiny portion of cream, yogurt or sour cream added to a
vinaigrette enriches a salad with minimal calories.
Brighten any salad, any season, with delicious vinegar. I
change it up a bit by keeping a stash of cider, malt,
sherry, red and white wine vinegars and balsamic vinegars
(affordable bottles of red and white as well as a more
expensive aged balsamic for judicious drizzling). Fresh
lemon, lime and grapefruit juices and bottled yuzu can also
form the base of a great vinaigrette.
Yes, salt can make or break a salad. Most vegetables benefit
from a little salt to enhance their natural flavors. Salt
can also come in the form of shredded or grated aged cheese,
such as Romano or Parmesan.
Even a side salad offers more long-lasting satisfaction with
a bit of protein added. This can be as simple as a few nuts
or shreds of cheese. Wedges of hard cooked-egg and canned
beans, along with their low cost, have the benefit of adding
unique texture too. With a bit of planning, diced or
shredded fully cooked meat, poultry and seafood make a salad
a main-dish contender
One surprising ingredient can ward off salad boredom no
matter the season. In winter months, clementine or
grapefruit segments, sliced olives and diced pickled
vegetables prove welcome in just about any salad. During the
growing season, I add slices of ripe tomatoes and peaches,
asparagus tips and sliced stalks, fresh peas in or out of
the pod, ripe berries and shaved summer squash.
pound boneless skinless chicken thighs and 2 cups chicken
broth into a shallow pan. Heat over medium-low heat to a
simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover loosely and let chicken
cook until the meat feels almost firm when pressed, usually
10 to 14 minutes. Remove with tongs to a board to cool. Add
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts to the poaching
liquid and add water if needed so the breasts are mostly
immersed in liquid. Heat to a very gentle simmer; cover
loosely and let poach until nearly firm, usually 8 to 12
minutes. Remove with tongs to the board and let cool. When
cool, pull the chicken into large shreds (or dice with a
knife). Refrigerate covered up to several days. Strain the
poaching liquid and use it in soups or stews within a few
days; or freeze and use later to poach more chicken.
a generous 1/2 cup
the types of oil, vinegar and mustard for flavor variations.
Use the agave syrup for a hint of sweetness.
cup extra-virgin olive oil
tablespoons mild-tasting oil, such as safflower oil, or
bold-flavored oil, such as walnut oil, hazelnut oil
tablespoons delicious vinegar, such as Banyuls wine vinegar,
red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
teaspoon Dijon mustard
teaspoon agave syrup or 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional
teaspoon grated lemon rind, optional
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
oils, vinegar, mustard and salt into a jar with a
tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Add pepper and mix again.
Refrigerate covered up to 2 weeks. Use at room temperature.
information per tablespoon: 91 calories, 10 g fat, 1 g
saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g
sugar, 0 g protein, 161 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
SALAD WITH ENDIVES AND RICOTTA SALATA
to use Meyer lemon, walnut oil and Banyuls vinegar in the
dressing for this special salad.
3 to 4
tablespoons classic all-purpose vinaigrette (above) made
with walnut oil and Meyer lemon zest
blanco grapefruit or pomelo
Satsuma mandarin or 2 clementines, peeled, sectioned, each
section cut into thirds
large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, diced
large head or 2 small heads Belgian endive, ends trimmed
small head red radicchio, thinly sliced
torn small leaves of escarole or curly endive
chunk (about 2 ounces) ricotta salata (or pecorino Romano)
cup roasted and salted pistachio nuts
ground black pepper
Make the vinaigrette.
Peel the grapefruit with a knife as follows: Slice the ends
off. Put the grapefruit on the cutting board cut side down.
Use a large knife to cut away all the rind and white pith,
curving the knife with the curve of the fruit. Then use the
knife to slice the grapefruit horizontally into 1/4-inch
thick slices. Do the same with the blood oranges.
Arrange the grapefruit and blood orange slices in alternate
colors in a ring on a large serving platter. Sprinkle with
mandarin segment pieces and then the diced avocado.
the endive in halve lengthwise, then cut crosswise into
1/2-inch-wide slices. Put into a large bowl with radicchio
and escarole. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and
toss to mix. Drizzle remaining 1 or 2 tablespoons
vinaigrette over the citrus.
Arrange the dressed lettuces in the center of the citrus.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave the ricotta over the whole
plate. Sprinkle with nuts and pepper. Serve immediately.
information per serving: 329 calories, 23 g fat, 5 g
saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 27 g carbohydrates, 10 g
sugar, 9 g protein, 367 mg sodium, 8 g fiber
CHICKEN AND ROMAINE SALAD WITH CREAMY BASIL CHIPOTLE
6 servings, 4 as a main dish
am short on time, I substitute 1/2 cup ranch dressing
blended with 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 1 teaspoon
pureed chipotle in adobo for the homemade dressing.
recipe creamy basil chipotle dressing, recipe follows
1/3 cup pecan halves
medium Honeycrisp apple, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2-inch
pieces (11/2 cups)
small kohlrabi bulb (about 5 ounces), peeled, cut into
1/2-inch pieces (or 1/2 cup diced radishes)
green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced (2/3 cup)
cup diced dill pickles, pickled green beans or pickled okra
(from a jar)
cup halved or sliced green or Castelvetrano olives
diced or coarsely shredded roasted or poached chicken
(boneless and skinless)
small head (7 ounces) romaine, quartered lengthwise, then
cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces (about 4 cups loosely
2 to 3
tablespoons chopped fresh or dehydrated parsley, chives or a
2 to 4
tablespoons crumbled Cotija or Romano cheese
pecans into a small dry skillet. Set over medium heat. Cook
and stir until toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not
walk away or they may burn. Transfer to a cutting board.
When cool, cut into small pieces.
apple, kohlrabi, green onions, pickles and olives into a
large bowl; toss to mix. Add chicken and dressing. Toss to
mix again. Let stand, 10 minutes.
romaine and herbs. Toss to mix. Arrange on serving plates.
Top with pecans and sprinkle with cheese. Serve.
information per serving: 419 calories, 32 g fat, 9 g
saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 11 g carbohydrates, 6 g
sugar, 24 g protein, 911 mg sodium, 3 g fiber
BASIL CHIPOTLE DRESSING
the blender running, drop 1 peeled shallot and 1 peeled
garlic clove into the machine to chop it. Turn off blender
and add 1/3 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup creme fraiche or
mascarpone. Add 2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar (or white
balsamic vinegar) and 1 teaspoon pureed chipotle in adobo;
blend smooth. Add 1 tablespoon dried basil and 1/2 teaspoon
each salt and sugar. Process to mix. Transfer to a container
with a lid; refrigerate covered up to several days. Use at