During the winter months I don’t often crave cold salads. I tend to embrace bowls of warm soup or chili, pasta dishes and anything with potatoes.
However, we are blessed with wonderful greens and fruits in the market that are a healthy complement to these heavier or rich foods. I still have kale growing in my garden and making variations of a hearty kale salad is on regular rotation in my kitchen.
Recently I discovered a delicious and nutritious salad that packs a punch of flavor and is an excellent side salad for hearty winter meals. This salad is an excellent addition to any holiday gathering or meal. It’s fresh and it’s crunchy.
There are endless ways to personalize it to satisfy your personal preferences or tastes. You choose the type of greens, nuts and cheese that you want to use. Once dressed, this salad actually keeps well in the fridge for an extra day.
Greens, Apple and Fennel Salad with Vinaigrette
For the salad:
2 sweet-tart apples, such as Gala, Honeycrisp or Fuji, cored and julienned
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered, cored and thinly sliced. Keep fennel fronds for garnish.
3 heads Belgian endive, outer leaves trimmed, quartered and cut into strips lengthwise. If you do not enjoy Belgian endive, then choose Frisee, Arugula or baby mixed greens
1/2 cup toasted chopped or pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, gorgonzola or goat cheese
For the vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced thyme
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, add the mustard, vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk in the oil in a steady stream. Stir in the shallots and thyme. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To assemble salad: Combine apples, fennel, and greens of choice in a bowl, add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide salad on salad plates, and sprinkle with toasted nuts and cheese to serve.
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She loves to cook from scratch using produce from the gardens she created and maintains with her husband. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and focused on desserts, pastries and bread. She’s worked for restaurants and caterers in the front and back of the house (kitchen) on both coasts. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. Deborah loves experimenting and developing new recipes. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at [email protected].