Friday, February 26, 2010

Escarole Salad with Avocado and Parmesan

I bookmarked this recipe on Orangette a while back, and luckily, I remembered that since escarole is a winter lettuce, now was the right time to pull out this recipe. Escarole is in the same family as endives, which I normally don’t like, as I find them too bitter. However, according to Wikipedia, escarole is the least bitter of the family, so the Engineer and I decided to give it a try – and we’re really glad we did. The creaminess of the avocadoes went perfectly with it, and the parmesan and the dressing tied the whole thing together beautifully. We didn’t have champagne vinegar, though, so we used apple cider vinegar.

For the salad:
1 head escarole, leaves shredded and thoroughly washed
1 firm-ripe avocado
1 hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano
crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel

For the dressing:
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp champagne vinegar (or something similar)
½ tsp fine sea salt
5 Tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, and salt, and whisk well to combine. Add the oil a tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously to emulsify. Taste, and adjust vinegar-oil balance, if necessary. (I admit I usually take the easy way out and put everything in a little glass jar with a screw-on lid, that I shake to emulsify.)

Place the escarole in a bowl or on a plate. Cut the avocado into thin slices and put them on the escarole.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave a small palmful of Parmigiano Reggiano over the escarole and avocados. Add a good splash of dressing, and toss to combine. Taste, and add dressing until the salad is dressed to your liking. Serve, with additional shavings of Parmigiano and crunchy sea salt to taste. (Here, I served it as a side to Pork Filets with Caramelized Pears.)

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