This delicious, flavor-packed salad was inspired by the beautiful, brightly-colored leaf Chicories that we receive in our CSA share.
Chicories include radicchio, sugarloaf chicory, dandelion greens, endive, and escarole (my personal favorite). Chicories are known for their bitterness so figuring out how to use them can be tricky. They can be gently cooked, which can help to mellow the bitterness. But my favorite way to use them is in salads. I like to mix a couple different chicory varieties together, as well as add in sweeter lettuces, like romaine or butter lettuce, to balance things out.
Chicories pair well with rich ingredients, like fruits, nuts, and strong cheeses. Here I used nectarines, walnuts, and gruyere, but you can easily change out the type of fruit, nut or cheese for something similar. I also added in caramelized fennel. Fennel is another unique vegetable we get in our CSA. The fennel pairs nicely with the other ingredients in the salad, but if you are not a fennel fan, it can be skipped. The salad is very adaptable. Get creative, try something new and enjoy!
- 1 piece of fennel
- 1-2 tbsp neutral flavored oil for cooking the fennel.
- Choose 2 or 3 chicory varieties: ½ head radicchio, ½ head escarole, ½ head sugarloaf chicory, and/or 1 small bunch of dandelion greens
- 2 cups romaine or butter lettuce
- 2 nectarines
- 4 oz gruyere
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Salt, to taste
- Slice the fennel bulb, and roughly chop the fronds. Discard stems.
- Heat a pan over medium heat. When hot add 1-2 tbsp of a neutral-flavored oil and the fennel bulb slices. Saute fennel until lightly caramelized, around 15 minutes.
- Chop the chicories and romaine, and place in a large bowl, along with the fennel fronds.
- Slice the nectarines, and add to the salad bowl.
- Thinly slice the gruyere. Add the gruyere and walnuts to the salad.
- Next whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss everything together.