Now that the calendar has clicked over to December, I’m getting into the holiday mood. Given that Costco had their Christmas decorations on the floor in early September when it was 106℉ degrees in Los Angeles, the pressure has been on for a while. But I prefer to wait until Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror to get my Christmas groove on.
This will be (I hope) the most normal Christmas in the last several years. After severe back pain in 2019 (now resolved after surgery); the COVID lockdown of 2020; 2021 with COVID still raging, making flying risky: it has been quite a time. Last year we did risk travel to have Christmas in Ashland, Oregon, at Mark’s sister’s with his entire family, including his 94-year-old mother, Jonnee. We had little clue then, as we enjoyed being together, that it would be Jonnee’s last.
So now, after several years of not-so-normal Christmases, it is 2022, and things feel mostly back to normal. This Christmas I’m looking forward to making the whole month of December special. Our decorations are going up a little earlier this year–not at the last minute as we’ve done too many years past–our tree will be a bit bigger, perhaps, and we have special holiday gatherings planned.
This week, anticipating the joys of the season, I spotted beautiful radicchio at the West Hollywood Farmers market; its deep red color made me smile and think of Christmas. Typical foods of the season can be heavy and rich, so as I spied the beautiful in-season radicchio I thought a crunchy winter salad would be great.
This winter salad is served raw, but warmed by a delicious sauce poured over small florets of cauliflower (or thin cauliflower slices, if you prefer) and sliced radicchio. Toss it all together, let the vegetables marinate for a while, and presto: a surprisingly easy, fresh, light, flavorful dish. The sweet taste of the raisins, the salt from anchovies, and the sour from red wine vinegar make for a combination of flavors far surpassing any standard salad dressing. The dressing also mellows the radicchio and enlivens the cauliflower: two vegetables you might not think to pair, but that work in perfect harmony here. Celery leaves act as a wonderfully tart garnish for an additional kick of flavor.
Enjoy this as a first course or alongside roasted chicken or meats.
Winter Salad with Radicchio and Cauliflower
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
This light winter salad is perfect to pair with heavier foods usually served in the winter. By using the very smallest florets of the cauliflower, it makes raw cauliflower work in a salad. You could also thin slice the cauliflower.
- ½ head cauliflower cut into very small florets (see photo in post)
- ½ head radicchio, cored and sliced into then ribbons
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained and rough chopped
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet, remove to a bowl
- 2 shallots, peeled sliced down the middle and cut into half rings
- 4 or so oil-packed anchovies, drained
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Celery leaves or parsley for garnish (optional)
- Place the prepared cauliflower and radicchio in a bowl.
- Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook until the shallots are translucent.
- Add the pine nuts and raisins and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the anchovies and stir to break them up, cooking for about 10 minutes more. Add the vinegar and 1 tbsp of water, stir and remove from heat.
- Taste the mixture adjusting salt and vinegar. Add more water if it’s too acidic.
- While the mixture is still warm, pour over the cauliflower/radicchio mixture and toss to combine.
- Let the salad marinate for a 30 minutes or so.
- Serve at room temperature garnishing with some celery leaves or parsley.
I can’t wait to try this! Looks delish…Thank you for sharing
Lydia: Thanks.. please let me know how it turns out! Joe