Bitter is Better: Grilled Greens Fall Salad with Citrus Dressing
Sometimes Bitter is Better. Lamenting the biting cold weather? Take it out on your salad. Grilling bitter greens brings out their sweetness, and when paired with a tender, salty, cured meat, it becomes something else entirely.
This citrus dressing, or citronette, makes more than you’ll need for this recipe, but it stores nicely for tomorrow night’s salad. See the Cook’s Note on choosing the right creamy, assertive cheese for this dish and the best kind of butternut squash to use.
total time: 40 minutes
active prep: 30 minutes
serves: 4 to 6 (yields about 14 cups so 3 1/2 cups per person if serving 4)
For the citrus dressing
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (from less than half an orange)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from less than half a large lemon)
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from half an orange)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from half a large lemon)
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 shallot, peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the salad
- 2 small heads endive, cut in half lengthwise leaving core intact
- 2 small heads radicchio, outer leaves peeled, quartered (or halved if very small), leaving core intact
- 8 small, 1/2-inch thick slices peeled butternut squash (cut crosswise from the neck, reserve the remainder of the squash for another use)
- 1 small red onion, cut into wedges about 1/2-inches thick, core intact
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Kosher salt, as needed
- Freshly ground pepper, as needed
- 2 cups (3 1/2 ounces) frisee, chopped into large bite-size pieces
- 2 cups (2-ounces; 1 bunch) upland cress or watercress, stems trimmed
- 4 ounces very soft, oozy, ash-rinded goat cheese or a sweet, mild blue cheese, like gorgonzola dolce
- 4–6 ounces prosciutto, slices torn casually into quarters or halves
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- Grill or grill pan
for the citrus dressing
Whisk together the zests, juices, Dijon and shallots, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the honey, whisk again, then emulsify with the olive oil by adding it in a thin stream while simultaneously whisking it together. If it looks separated, keep whisking. Season to taste.
for the sliced vegetables
Heat your outside grill or grill pan (if cooking indoors) to medium-high heat. Clean grates (for the outside grill).
Arrange the endive, radicchio, squash and red onion in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly brush with oil on both sides.
Lightly season with salt and pepper on both sides just before grilling each vegetable.
Grill the vegetables in batches until charred in spots and just slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes per side (and more like 4 minutes per side for the squash and the onion). Return to the baking sheet or a cutting board to cool slightly.
On a large platter, arrange the vegetables and fresh lettuces (frisee and watercress) artfully. Drizzle with the dressing (about 6 tablespoons). Dollop with the cheese using two small spoons, and arrange the prosciutto among the vegetables. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
This dish is a chorus of bitter and sweet. And an assertive creamy cheese — like it’s counterpart in this dish, the grilled greens — balances sweet and creamy notes with pungent, almost bitter notes. When choosing cheeses, select those that are creamy, but carry with them some serious character. Our favorites are young, ash-rinded goat cheeses or gorgonzola dolce. We like them young and spoonable, but a crumbly older cheese will do as well.
Make your life easier and pick out a butternut squash with a long, straight neck. The neck is way easier to peel and cut than the bulbous section. Don’t throw the rest away — scoop out the seeds from the portion you don’t use and refrigerate for some other day. It’s got loads of uses, from soups, to a substitute for potatoes in stews or home fries on the weekend.
Follow @VolpiFoods on Medium for a new recipe every day!
At Volpi Foods, we’re passionate about producing delicious, natural, exceptionally high-quality foods. We handcraft everything we make using original, authentic recipes. Simply put, our decisions are made not by expediency, but by taste. Learn more at volpifoods.com.