Endive Salad with Sherry-Fig Vinaigrette

Endive Salad with Sherry-Fig Vinaigrette | Cravings & Crumbs

Last week I shared the most amazing fried chicken with savory cornmeal waffles, the week before that was ginger miso skirt steak, so now we’re reining it all back in with this delicious and healthy endive salad.  After spending months thinking about this salad from the September issue of Bon Appetit and then this little salad from Deb Perelman, I knew it was time to make my own version.  The endive salads were calling to me!

Endive Salad with Sherry-Fig Vinaigrette | Cravings & Crumbs

I started by taking my favorite parts of both salads – the blue cheese from the BA recipe and the irregularly shaped hand torn croutons from Smitten Kitchen.  I made the croutons by pulling the insides from a thick slice of bread, making sure they were all about the size of half a walnut (er, a half of the walnut halves?  A quarter nut?  You know what I’m saying.)  Tearing instead of cutting the croutons gives them a lighter texture so that they almost shatter when you bite into them.

Endive Salad with Sherry-Fig Vinaigrette | Cravings & Crumbs

I came up with the vinaigrette simply because fig and sherry vinegar are ingredients I always want to use more of and they just sounded good together.  And surprise, they were!  The vinaigrette is a little sweet and a little tart, with complexity from the vinegar and shallots.  If you don’t have a bottle of sherry vinegar, you should probably go get one.  Not just for this recipe!  Sherry vinegar is my go-to splash of acid when I’m sauteing vegetables, it’s really good on roasted chicken and onions, and the tiniest splash at the end of cooking somehow brightens up and transforms french onion soup into the best ever.

Endive Salad with Sherry-Fig Vinaigrette | Cravings & Crumbs

My favorite part of this salad?  Ok, besides the cheese…  My favorite part is the texture.  The endive is incredibly crisp and refreshing, the croutons and walnuts provide two volumes of crunch, the cheese, nestled between the leaves, is creamy and salty, coating the tongue, and the blood orange is juicy and bright.  Most days spinach, arugula, and mixed greens will do, but for a truly interesting and textural winter salad I’ll stick with endive.

Start by whisking together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread walnuts and breadcrumbs on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and toss to coat. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove and allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Remove any bruised outer leaves from the endive and discard. Chop into about 1” sections and separate the leaves into a salad bowl. Slice the stem and bottom ends from the blood orange, then slice the peel and pith off in sections from top to bottom, following the curvature of the fruit. Holding the skinned orange in your hand, use a paring knife to carefully cut in between the segment walls to remove the segments and add to the salad. If you want, squeeze the juice from the remaining membrane into a small cup - this is the chef’s treat! Dice or crumble blue cheese. Roughly chop walnuts. Add cheese, walnuts, and breadcrumbs to the salad. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss.

Endive Salad with Sherry-Fig Vinaigrette
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb endive
  2. 1 blood orange
  3. ⅓ c. raw walnut halves
  4. ½ c. hand torn breadcrumbs
  5. 2 oz. blue cheese
  6. Olive oil
  7. Salt
Vinaigrette
  1. 1¼ t. fig preserves
  2. 1 T sherry vinegar
  3. 2 T olive oil
  4. 1¼ t. finely minced shallots
  5. ½ t. dijon mustard
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Start by whisking together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread walnuts and breadcrumbs on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and toss to coat. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove and allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Remove any bruised outer leaves from the endive and discard. Chop into about 1” sections and separate the leaves into a salad bowl.
  4. Slice the stem and bottom ends from the blood orange, then slice the peel and pith off in sections from top to bottom, following the curvature of the fruit. Holding the skinned orange in your hand, use a paring knife to carefully cut in between the segment walls to remove the segments and add to the salad. If you want, squeeze the juice from the remaining membrane into a small cup - this is the chef’s treat!
  5. Dice or crumble blue cheese. Roughly chop walnuts. Add cheese, walnuts, and breadcrumbs to the salad. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss.
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Spinach Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

 

Spinach Salad with Honey Garlic VinaigretteHere we go with another recipe from the Gjelina cookbook.  Last time we made a decadent mushroom toast that was so ridiculously delicious and comforting and would satisfy any meat eater.  (Gotta like mushrooms though, that’s a requirement).  This time I figured I would go for something much lighter.  I’ve been eating a lot of spinach salads for lunch and wanted some new flavor combinations to keep it interesting.

Spinach Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

Flipping through the pages of the cookbook was so inspiring that I had a list of recipes to try before I was even halfway through.  A constant goal of mine is to find new ways to cook and enjoy more vegetables and Gjelina is the perfect cookbook for that since vegetables are their main focus.  I actually checked this cookbook out from the library years ago when it first came out and wrote it off for all the subrecipes and complexity included in the recipes.  This time around I was more in a mindset to pick and choose where to spend my effort.  The recipes are so great that even if you don’t make every single thing from scratch or find each obscure/gourmet ingredient it will still end up so much better than your average recipe.

Spinach Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

What originally drew me to this recipe was the beautiful picture and the contrast between the deep green of the spinach and the golden brown of the croutons.  Remember what I was just saying about choosing where to spend your effort?  Well in this recipe don’t skip the homemade croutons!  Not only is there nothing better than homemade croutons, but I love how thinly they’re sliced.  They end up crispy, but still somewhat delicate.

Spinach Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette
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For the vinaigrette
  1. 3 T red wine vinegar
  2. 1T lemon juice
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2T shallots, minced
  5. 1T honey
  6. ½ c olive oil
  7. 1t Dijon mustard
  8. Salt and pepper
For the salad
  1. Day old bread
  2. Olive oil
  3. Seasonings
  4. Baby spinach
  5. Golden raisins
  6. Goat cheese
  7. Kalamata olives
  8. Castelvetrano olives
Instructions
  1. Combine the shallots and garlic with the vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl or jar and let macerate 5-10 minutes. Then add the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients and stir or shake to combine.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Slice bread very thinly, about ¼” and lay out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and any other seasonings you like (garlic powder and dried basil would be a nice place to start). Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  3. Assemble salad by adding the spinach and golden raisins to a large bowl. Slice the olives in half and add to the bowl. Crumble the goat cheese on top. Break the croutons into bite sized pieces and add. Finally, toss with the vinaigrette, 1 T at a time until you reach your desired level of coating.
Notes
  1. I don’t have any measurements here because in a salad it’s all to your taste. Add a little of this and that, it really doesn’t matter as long as the main ingredient is the spinach.
Adapted from Gjelina
Adapted from Gjelina
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Shaved Zucchini and Arugula Salad

Shaved Zucchini and Arugula Salad

I love zucchini year round, but right now, when they’re so abundant that people are practically giving them away, is the perfect time to try zucchini in a form you probably haven’t had before.  We’ve all had overcooked, mushy zucchini.  Many of us have also probably fallen for the trend of spiralized zucchini noodles.  I’ll come right out and say it – I don’t like them!  Raw they’re too crunchy and spongy, cooked they’re too mushy…it seems like there’s just never a good in-between.  Well, here it is!  This shaved zucchini and arugula salad is the perfect balance for a light and refreshing summer side dish. Read More

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BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Poblano Dressing

I have a thing for summer food.  What do I mean by “a thing”?  Well soups, stews, and roasts are great, but what I really want year round is to be able to eat something light, flavorful, and that hopefully was grilled outside.  This summer salad hits all the marks. Read More

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Broccolini Salad With Prosciutto and Burrata

As I’ve grown up my appreciation for salad has evolved.  My parents would have a simple salad at the dinner table most nights, but if I had to eat it my portion would be romaine, croutons, maybe some shredded carrots – no dressing please…  Then I discovered balsamic, so sweet yet tart, and wait a minute, you can put this on things that aren’t lettuce too?  These days my favorite vinegar is red wine, although I love champagne and sherry vinegars almost equally.  It’s bright, very acidic, and perfect for my everyday cooking which is usually some kind of blend between italian and californian.

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