Since the shop opened I’ve kept a running Google Doc of all of the menus we’ve served. I make a few notes so I can remember who was there, any memorable moments and things I want to adjust for the next time. As I was going through the growing doc I noticed several repeated recipes. This Garlic Confit toast has already been featured on three menus. David Tanis’ Mushroom Ragout has been featured at two different dinners as has a simple dessert of spice roasted pears with salted maple caramel (simply reduce maple syrup to a caramel consistency then add salt), creme fraiche and brown butter toasted biscotti crumbs.
The most repeated dish so far has been some iteration of this salad. At this point in the season citrus – blood oranges in particular, are the one thing I will miss about winter. This salad balances sweetness from the citrus with the bitter, crisp leaves of the chicories. Always the heavy hand with the vinegar there is a slight pucker tamed by thinly sliced kumquat and candied pine nuts.
A soft, fragrant and unsuspecting crunch comes by way of fried rosemary. Fried herbs are an unusual delight and not terribly complicated. The hearty winter herbs do particularly well in a hot oil bath. I fry my herbs in a modest amount of olive oil. Heat the oil until the needle-like leaves sputter the instant they hit the pan. Once their frantic sizzling subsides you know they are ready as that alerts you to the fact that all the water in the leaves has evaporated so once cooled they will crisp up just as they should. While they’re still warm add a flurry of fine sea salt to the leaves. This same method works well for sage, thyme, parsley and probably others too. Those are the ones I’ve tried so far.
I hold a firm belief that even in Winter salads need not be boring and this recipe proves that point quite nicely.
Citrus and Chicory Salad with Candied Pine Nuts and Fried Rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 cups chopped chicories (Belgian Endive, Endive, Treviso)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 recipe Blood Orange Vinaigrette (below)
3 blood oranges, segmented and roughly chopped
5 kumquats, thinly sliced
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Makes 1/2 cup dressing
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne (or other white wine) vinegar
2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1⁄4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
To make the fried rosemary: In a small saucepan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Carefully drop in the rosemary and fry until the color shifts and the sputtering ceases, this tells us that all the water in the leaves has evaporated and you will be left with a crispy leaf. Carefully remove the rosemary from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
In a small skillet set over medium heat add the pine nuts. Sauté until their color shifts and they start to smell toasty. Add the sugar and cumin and stir until well coated in the sugar and it starts to caramelize. Remove to a plate to cool.
Add the greens and scallions to a large bowl along with the salad dressing and half of the chopped blood oranges and kumquats. Toss well to combine.
Transfer about half of the salad to a platter then top with half of the pine nuts and rosemary. Add the remaining greens then cap with the rest of the rosemary, pine nuts and citrus. Finish with flake salt. Serve straight away.
For the blood orange vinaigrette:
In a medium bowl whisk together the shallot, mustard, honey, vinegar, and blood orange juice. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Add a pinch of salt and taste. Adjust to your liking.