Fresh, vibrant and healthy – yes, we’re talking about a winter salad!
You might assume that cold weather means less fresh greens, but the produce section of any marketplace (including Eataly’s) offers a rainbow of possibilities this time of year. Italians embrace eating with the seasons, and that includes winter vegetables that taste their brightest and most flavourful in the colder months. This colourful insalata d’indivia e zucca is not something to be reserved for the sweltering days of summer, but rather a fresh contorno (side dish) or a light lunch that brings together endive, sweet roasted squash, and a citrusy pop of blood oranges.
Endive, a pleasantly bitter and snowy white lettuce from the chicory family, is rich in vitamins and potassium. It is also grown in the dark, giving the vegetable its unusual colour and tight, bulb-like appearance. Be sure to clean your fresh endive by removing the outer leaves, cutting off the bottom of the bulb, and running it under cold water to remove any dirt.
Insalata d’Indivia e Zucca (Endive and Roasted Squash Salad)
Recipe courtesy of Eataly
Yield: 2 servings
1 small head red endive or radicchio
1 head white endive
1/2 fennel, sliced (saving the fronds for garnish)
1/2 blood orange, supremed
1/4 cup roasted butternut squash
3 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, for roasting and dressing
To roast the butternut squash, pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Peel the squash, halve it and scoop out the seeds. Slice thinly into half-moon slices, about 1-inch thick. Toss with about 1/3 cup of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of salt, then lay flat on a baking sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes until the squash is tender (you should be able to pierce it easily with a fork), and allow to cool. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the squash for the salad, and save the rest of the roasted squash to use for another dish.
Next, cut the red and white endive in half down the middle, and wash and dry the leaves. Place the leaves on a plate, arranging the leaves facing up.
To supreme the orange, cut off both ends with a sharp knife and carefully slice off the pith and the rind, turning the orange in clockwise motions to slice down each side of the orange. Holding the orange and moving with the wedges, carefully slice out the wedges from the fruit membrane. You can do this above a bowl to catch the juices and place the fruit wedges as they come apart. Once all of the wedges are in the bowl, squeeze the membrane to extract the rest of the juices.
Next, slice the fennel into thin strips, and add to the lettuce. Dress with the blood orange juice from the bowl and season with a pinch of sea salt and about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Arrange about half of the blood orange wedges on the salad, enough to get one in every bite.
Garnish with a few pieces of fennel fronds and serve immediately.
Shop all the ingredients at the Eataly Toronto market to make this dish at home. Buon appetito!