Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Endive & Clementine Salad

I recently picked up the special Holiday edition of Gourmet magazine and within it's pages I found this salad.  A very unusual and unexpectedly delicious salad.  I say unexpectedly because a glance at the ingredients list doesn't turn up the usual suspects when it comes to salad fixings.  Clementines, olives, Belgian endive?  Yes, that's normal.  Whole celery and parsley leaves?  Not all that common, but not completely unheard of.  Cocktail onions?  Ummmm.  You mean those little onions you find in martinis?  Never in my life have I seen them used in food.  Is a martini considered food?
All of this weirdness aside, I love cocktail onions!  I mean, really love them.  I went through a martini phase - many years ago - pre-children years ago - and I would always order my drink with extra onions.  By extra, I mean like eight.  Yes - bartenders looked at me like I was nuts, but I love vodka soaked cocktail onions even more than I like them plain.
So, needless to say, when I saw this salad I knew it would be made.  The headnote for the recipe says it's a combination of sweet, salty, bitter, tangy and sour...basically flavor fireworks.  It also seemed like a great salad to serve over the Holidays when meals are typically heavy and rich. 
All of the elements of this salad can be prepared several hours before you plan to serve it, making it an ideal choice for entertaining.  If needed, you can use regular oranges - or in a pinch even canned mandarin oranges.  But if possible I recommend using clementines.  They are in season and abundant this time of year and they do have a very distinctive flavor which works particularly well here.
The individual segments of fruit need to be removed from the clementines.  If you're not familiar with how to supreme an orange {or any citrus fruit}, I've included the steps in the photo above.  First - to make your life easier, slice the top and bottom sections of peel off the clementine.  This makes it possible for it to sit flat on a cutting board.  Second - slice the peel and pith off the fruit with a sharp paring knife by following the contour of the fruit {if you see that you've missed some spots at the bottom when you flip it over simply trim those off as well}. 
Third - cut out the segments from between each membrane while holding the fruit over a bowl to catch the juices that drip out {even if the recipe you're using doesn't call for using the juice, use it for another purpose - such as flavoring water}.  Fourth - Drop the removed segments into the bowl your working over and you're done! 
I decided to add the accumulated juices to the dressing because I thought using the full amount of red wine vinegar called for in the original recipe would be too much.  I'm not a 2:1 {oil:vinegar} ratio kind of person - I find dressings made this way to be too overwhelmingly acidic.  I thought cutting the vinegar with some clementine juice would sweeten it a bit more and help balance out all the bitter and sour flavors in the salad.  I thought it worked out very well!
As a final note - Belgian endive is one of those vegetables that browns very quickly after being cut.  To prevent this I recommend slicing it right before assembling the salad.  Everything else can be prepped ahead of time.
More Salad Ideas: Fennel & Orange Salad | Green Bean Salad with Arugula, Tomatoes & Basil Dressing | Edamame & Fennel Salad

Endive & Clementine Salad

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine | Holiday
Serve 8

8 clementines
6 medium Belgian endives
6 inner stalks of celery, with leaves
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted & quartered
2/3 cup drained cocktail onions, quartered
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.  Supreme the clementines: Slice the tops and bottoms off each clementine {so they will rest flat on a cutting surface}.  Using a sharp paring knife slice off peel and pith by following the outside contour of the fruit.  Working over a bowl to catch the juices, cut fruit segments out from between the membranes.  Add segments to the bowl and set aside.
2.  Remove the outermost leaves from the endive and slice in half lengthwise.  Cut out and discard the core; slice the leaves diagonally into 1/2" wide strips and add to a mixing bowl.  Separate the leaves from the celery stalks; slice the ribs diagonally into thin strips.  Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Add the sliced celery and leaves to the bowl of endive, along with the olives, cocktail onions and parsley leaves.  Add the clementine segments, reserving a tablespoon of accumulated juice for the dressing.
3.  In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar and a tablespoon of clementine juice until emulsified.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add some of the dressing to the salad and toss gently, adding in more as necessary, until desired taste is achieved. 
To Make Ahead:  All of the salad ingredients {except the endive} and salad dressing, can be prepared several hours ahead of time and stored in separate airtight containers, or plastic bags.  Belgian endive browns very quickly after being cut.  I recommend slicing it right before assembling the salad.  

Click here for the printable recipe


Joanne said...

Thsi is DEFINITELY a salad that I would have skipped over if it wasn't for you! Thanks for pointing us in the right direction and Happy Thanksgiving!

Emily said...

Wow, that looks beautiful and delicious!

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Mmmm, this salad sounds great!

Post a Comment