Salad of Winter Greens
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 3 medium apples (McIntosh, if available) washed, cheeks removed and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3/4 cup pecan halves
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 heads radicchio, cores removed, leaves removed, torn into bite-size pieces and washed and dried
- 1 head arugula leaves, washed and dried
- 1 head chicory, stems removed, washed and dried
- 1 head escarole leaves, torn into bite-size pieces, washed and dried
- 2 heads endive, bottoms removed and the leaves halved lengthwise
My favorite thing about this recipe is putting the salad into the oven and lightly wilting it just before serving. A simple touch that makes the flavors more intense and the texture more inviting. Other simple touches that make the difference? Taking care that all the greens are thoroughly washed and dried. A mouthful with grit or excess moisture that dilutes the flavors of the dressing can make a great salad less than perfect.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, add the bourbon and the apple slices. Season with salt and black pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.
Make the dressing: In a large bowl, or with a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the pecans until they are in small pieces and season with salt. Add the olive oil and whisk with the nuts to make a paste-like mixture. Stir in the cider vinegar and some black pepper. Set aside.
When ready to serve, add the greens to a large bowl and stir in the dressing. Toss to coat the greens with the dressing. Transfer the salad to a platter (or individual plates). Put the platter in the oven with the door ajar until the greens wilt ever so slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the apple slices. Cook's Note: if there is any excess bourbon, leave it behind in the bowl as you top the salad with the apples. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli