Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Escarole & Orange Salad

I had a lovely head of Escarole in my produce co-op box this week. We used our last set of bitter greens (kale) in a wonderful soup, so I wanted to try something different if I could this time. Escarole is often used in salads or served as a side dish, I chose this recipe from Cooks Illustrated because I love orange segments in salads, and the vinaigrette intrigued me. It did not disappoint, the flavor was wonderful. You need to eat an escarole leaves with an orange segment, some almonds & some olive pieces in the vinaigrette all in one bite to get the full effect of all these wonderful flavors mixing in this salad - the olive & orange offset the bitter flavors of the escarole in a delicious way, and the crunch from the almonds was wonderful. I served it with a cauliflower soup and it was a fantastic dinner. Yum.
Escarole and Orange Salad with Green Olive Vinaigrette
(From Cooks Illustrated)

In this salad, when arranging the orange segments on the greens, leave behind any juice that is released; it will dilute the dressing.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (basalmic is a fine substitute)
1/2 cup chopped green olives
3 medium shallots , minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium clove garlic , minced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup olive oil
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 large head escarole , washed, dried and stemmed (about 9 cups lightly packed)
2 large oranges , segmented
1/2 cup slivered almonds , toasted in small dry skillet over medium heat until golden, about 7 minutes

1. Whisk vinegar, olives, shallots, garlic, and orange zest in large bowl; whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add greens; toss to coat.

2. Divide dressed greens among individual plates, arrange a portion of orange segments on greens, and sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.

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