This is my version of a perfect winter salad, good as a starter course for four people, or as its own meal for two. It’s a little bitter from the chicories, spicy from the watercress, creamy from the crème fraîche, sweet from the apple and nutty from the almonds. This salad is nothing without that nuttiness, so if you’re not an almond person, substitute for toasted pepitas or pecans.
For the salad
2 cups chicories (I used endive and radicchio), torn into small pieces
1 cup watercress
1 apple (I used Pink Lady, but would recommend any variety known for being sweet and crisp), julienned
2 carrots, cut into strips with a vegetable peeler
Leaves from 4 mint sprigs, picked and roughly torn into smaller pieces
1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped or smashed
For the dressing
1 teaspoon sweet white wine vinegar (If you don’t have any, just add 1/2 teaspoon liquid honey in addition to the vinegar)
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 teaspoons crème fraîche
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)
Clean and toss all the dry ingredients together, saving the almonds for last so they stay crunchy. Use a fork to whip together the dressing in a separate bowl and add salt to taste as needed. Remember, you want a salad dressing to the be a little over-seasoned because its job is to be spread over a large surface area and season the dish. I often get asked why my salad dressing tastes so good and it is almost always because I add a little “too much” salt. Dress the salad right before serving and add the almonds just before it lands on the dining table.
This recipe first appeared at The Coast Kitchen.