After a season of cookie making, roast baking, and all-around decadence, we’re starting to crave the unthinkable: vegetables. In the new year we’re always ready to readjust our weekly menus to start incorporating more fresh produce again, but when it’s so cold out, it can be hard to find veggie-filled meals that still seem satisfying. Leave it to Giada De Laurentiis to whip up an Italian winter salad that’s hearty enough to be served as an entree even when it’s cold, but that still features a colorful array of craveable fruit and veg. Oh, and did we mention there’s pancetta in it, too?
De Laurentiis does a few clever things with her Grilled Endive Salad With Citrus and Pancetta. For one, she eschews delicate mixed greens and boring iceberg lettuce in favor of treviso and endive, sturdy, bold chicories with a slightly bitter flavor. Then, she grills them, taming some of that bitterness, tenderizing the leaves, and adding a smoky flavor that mingles with the rest of the ingredients once the salad is tossed together. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a grill pan, or even just pop the leaves under your broiler for a few minutes.
Then, she adds brightness in the form of juicy, in-season oranges, opting for pink cara cara and red-purple blood oranges for color. She also adds in a sprinkle of pomegranate arils, which burst with a sweet-tart crunch when you bite into them.
The dressing is totally next-level, too, and way better than anything that comes in a bottle at the store.
It only takes five ingredients, and one of them is pancetta, which is basically Italian bacon, so you know it’s going to be good. The pancetta is sauted with shallots until the meat is crispy and the shallots are soft and sweet. The two are whisked with whole grain mustard and champagne vinegar, then poured over your salad.
The end result is spectacular. You’ve got smoky, charred bitter greens, fresh juicy citrus, crunchy pops of pomegranate, and a mustardy vinaigrette with salty pancetta that brings it all together. You could even add a cup of cooked farro or another sturdy grain if you wanted to give the salad more heft.
With recipes like this, eating more veggies in 2021 is going to be no problem.
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