Austere as this salad may seem, it's got 2 secret tricks that will make you better at making salads, during the holidays and forever after. 1. You infuse the vinegar with chopped red onion for an hour, then quietly remove it. The vinegar is left with a richer, more complex flavor, without the oppressive oniony kickback. 2. You toss the dressed leaves with a dusting of finely grated Manchego to help the coating stick. Adapted slightly from Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. (McSweeney's Insatiables, 2013). —Genius Recipes
The dressing for this salad was another Chez Panisse lesson on one of my first days. Whole Meyer lemons, zest and pith, get diced up and mixed with shallots, their juices and olive oil to make the most heavenly winter salad dressing. I had never used lemons in this way before and it was, again, one of those lightbulb moments that just changed how I saw every ingredient. This dressing is great on a raw fish crudo or winter chicory salad as well. Look for different kinds of citrus at the farmers’ market and use everything from kumquats to grapefruits to oranges. Although we use Meyer lemons in the dressing, stay away from lemons and limes for slicing into the salad as they can be too tart.
I love a chewy grain salad (this one has lentils too) with a lot of contrasting flavors and textures. Sweet, sour, chewy, crunchy, salty. You can go crazy and add more ingredients here; just don’t add toasted nuts or seeds ahead of time, as they will get soggy—throw them on top just before serving.
This salad is perfect over mixed greens, spinach, or arugula or served in lettuce cups for a quick easy lunch. It keeps well for five to seven days in the fridge. I adore using Homemade Avocado Mayo (recipe follows), or Primal Kitchen’s avocado mayo if you’re short on time, in this recipe.
I know it looks a bit strange to see the cabbage so charred and black, but trust me – it’s absolutely delicious. It’s one of those things I discovered and wished I’d found sooner! To get an even charring of the cabbage, press the wedges firmly into the pan so that the surface makes complete contact with the heat.
When the idea for this popped into my head, I could almost taste it. It’s such a fine tumble of contrasting flavours and textures, and the sourness comes from the mango or the tamarind: you can never be sure of a mango until you taste it, so hold fire on finishing the dressing until you’ve tried the mango – add a little honey if it is unripe and sour; leave it alone if it is edging towards sweet. This is great with pea shoots in place of rocket [Ed. note: rocket is arugula], coriander rather than mint, a red onion instead of the shallot, and by all means cast pomegranate seeds over the top. Play with it as you like.
Who says Greek salad is only for summer? By using winter veggies, but keeping the same feta-oregano flavour profile, you can easily extend this salad’s seasonality and eat it year-round. I love the combo of bitter leafy radicchio with the sharp, creamy cheese and fragrant, anise- like flavour of the fennel. Almond feta is a vegan nut cheese (sourced from speciality organic shops) - even if you’re not vegan, it’s a delicious swap in any dish requiring a soft white cheese.
This is just the sort of salad I want to eat when I am coming out of the winter stodge phase and need something fresher – just in time for the end of the blood orange season. It is a good salad to prepare ahead and will keep well in the fridge as long as you follow the salting instructions below – if you skip this step, the vegetables will go soggy.
This is prime-time winter. It features winter squash that’s roasted with oil and honey so it gets a little caramelly (it’s a bonus that you don’t actually have to peel the squash for this recipe), and hearty greens that are a super-strong foil for the sweet squash and pear.
For the past twenty-five years, I’ve been buying herbs from Fresh Herbs of Houston, which was founded by a Vietnamese woman named Pat, who came here back in the 1970s, and has been farming in Texas for many years. A decade ago, she asked me what special ingredients I might want for my menu and I answered flor de calabaza (squash blossoms). Pat has been growing squash blossoms for my restaurants ever since, and during the long summer season I buy more than a thousand of her blossoms each week. So, we two immigrants help each other.