Nonetheless, every once in a while, a recipe for a salad piques my interest. Usually I get excited if there's some unusual (and by unusual I mean not romaine) lettuce involved or a particularly zippy salad dressing. This recipe for a salad incorporating fennel and radicchio together with a dressing which included both walnuts and manchego was a surefire interest piquer.
Not only is this salad absolutely delicious, it's a show stopper. The colors are lovely, even festive, and the dressing is really special. You can serve this to your family or to guests and everyone will be asking you to please pass the salad.
Recipe: Winter Salad with Fennel Radicchio, Walnuts, and Manchego
(Cook This Now by Melissa Clark, 2011)
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 fat garlic clove, finely shopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound aged manchego or Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
1 large head radicchio, quartered lengthwise and cored
1 large fennel bulb, fronds removed
In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Whisk in the oil. Use a Microplane or other grater to finely grate 2 ounces of the cheese (you'll get about 1.2 cup). Whisk the grated cheese and walnuts into the vinaigrette (it should be fairly thick).
Thinly slice each radicchio wedge crosswise and transfer to a large salad bowl. Trim the stems from the fennel and remove the outer layers. Cut the fennel bulb in half from top to bottom. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, shave the fennel into paper thin slices. Add to the salad bowl.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the remaining 2 ounces of cheese into curls. Toss into the salad. Taste and adjust any seasonings, if necessary.