On the first day of winter, a salad of winter greens… and reds. Puntarella is a variety of chicory (endive), harvested between November and February in this climate zone. Known for its crispy texture and sharp peppery flavor, its coarse toothed leaves look similar to those of the dandelion plant. The bitter leafy vegetables are offset by the pine nuts, sour lemon and sweet brown rice syrup in the dressing.
4-5 puntarella leaves
4-5 dandelion leaves
4-5 red endive leaves
6-7 basil leaves
¼ cup pignoli (pine) nuts (optional)
¼ teaspoon pink sea salt
½ teaspoon brown rice syrup
Process Wash the puntarella and dandelion leaves together; the endive
and basil separately. Dry roast the pignoli nuts, if using, by heating a stainless steel or cast iron skillet on a medium flame for about 30 seconds, then adding the nuts. Use cooking chopsticks or a wooden spoon to turn the nuts, exposing each side to the hot pan. When they begin to sweat and become lightly golden brown, remove from pan and set aside to cool. Cut the puntarella leaves into inch-wide pieces
and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the dandelion leaves into similarly sized pieces and layer them on top of the puntarella.
Slice the red endive into inch-wide pieces
and place them on top of the greens. Mix.
Slice the basil leaves into skinny strips and mix in with the other leaves. Add the sea salt and pine nuts on top, if desired. Squeeze the lemon.
Pour into a bowl and add the brown rice syrup,
whisking them together. Drizzle on top of the salad and serve.
©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2013