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A salad to wake you from the winter doldrums

Contrasting flavors of bitter, salty, sour and sweet and perhaps a little umami combined with color and texture are represented in this winter salad.

Alison's version of the Winter Salad

I've always been a fan of the standard salad favorites found on many restaurant menus: spring lettuces with fruit, spiced nuts and a tangy cheese with balsamic vinaigrette, or butter lettuce with citrus and pomegranate, but I recently had a beautiful salad at Marlowe in SF that inspired me to make the salad featured here.

I'm not a fan of entrée salads, or giant salads. I prefer a small little pile of greens with a mission. What is the purpose of this salad; is it to cool the palate, create a contrast to the entrée to come (I like my salads as a first course when I'm in the US); or enhance the theme of the dinner? What kinds of greens, vegetables, fruits are in season, do I want to try a new oil or vinegar; who are my guests?

All of these thoughts go through a chef's mind when creating a salad. I hope you enjoy this salad and that it brings inspiration for your own creations.


Winter Salad

Enough to serve 8

Dressing Ingredients

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 shallot, minced

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 lemon, grated zest and juice

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup olive oil (good quality)

1 sprig fresh thyme

Whisk vinegars with mustard. Hit the garlic clove with the flat blade of your knife, keeping it intact. Stir in olive oil and add all other ingredients. Stir well each time you use the dressing. Discard the garlic clove and thyme before using the dressing.

The Salad

Arugula, baby gems or butter lettuce (enough for 8 small servings)

A handful of herbs (spicy cress, chervil, Italian parsley)

¼ head Radicchio

2 each Belgian endive

3 baby carrots (use a variety of colors if you can get them)

2 radishes

¼ watermelon radish

¼ golden beet

Use a mandolin to slice the washed carrots, radishes, beets and watermelon radish. Place them in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes so the carrots begin to curl slightly. Place the washed greens in a bowl with the torn radicchio, herbs and endive leaves. Drain and blot dry the carrots and radishes and add to the greens. Stir the vinaigrette and dress the salad. Sprinkle a little coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on the salad.

Lightly toss and serve.

The Marlowe Salad Chef Alison's Winter Salad

Marlowe Salad, from the SF restaurant
Alison's version of the Winter Salad


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