Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

A few weeks ago, we got two small bulbs of fennel and a pretty head of radicchio in our CSA share from In Good Heart Farm. The radicchio was a pale green head with flecks of cranberry, not the usual cranberry head with veins of white. I had just seen this salad recipe from The Kitchn on Pinterest so I knew what I was going to do with my bounty.

Radicchio | Grabbing the Gusto

Radicchio | Grabbing the Gusto

I got lucky at the supermarket too. The clear plastic containers of organic greens were all buy-one-get-one-free so I picked up a box of baby romaine. I knew I had pecans in the freezer, but still needed to buy a wedge of Pecorino. I haven’t had a good sliver of Pecorino in years. Dang, it’s good. Worth the expense.

This salad comes together quickly so it’s a good one to add to the repertoire. To mix it up, I bet the juice of an orange (instead of lemon) would complement the winter greens and pecans too.

Fennel, Radicchio & Romaine Winter Salad with Pecans | Grabbing the Gusto

Fennel, Radicchio & Romaine Winter Salad with Pecans | Grabbing the Gusto

Fennel, Radicchio & Romaine Winter Salad with Pecans

You’ll need a mandoline or a sharp knife, steady hand and patience; a medium skillet; large bowl; vegetable peeler; small bowl; and whisk.

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 small bulbs fennel – stems, fronds, and base removed, cut each bulb in half lengthwise, remove core, slice bulb thinly using a mandoline or sharp knife
  • 1 small head radicchio, cut in half lengthwise, remove base and core, slice thinly using a mandoline or sharp knife
  • 2 hearts of romaine or enough baby romaine to match the amount of fennel and radicchio together – chop romaine hearts crosswise into bite-sized pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces Pecorino cheese

For the dressing:

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over moderately high heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until they smell toasted and are developing dark spots. Don’t forget about them, you don’t want to throw out burnt pecans. Set aside to cool.

Toss the fennel, radicchio, and romaine together in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a peeler or mandoline, shave the pecorino cheese into the bowl. Toss the cheese into the salad. Toss in the cooled pecans too.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour on top of the salad and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Original recipe: Fennel and Radicchio Winter Salad with Pecans, The Kitchn

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