Winter salads are a beautiful thing, and this one is no exception. Bitter radicchio and endive are pared with sweet tart apples and oranges, toasty walnuts, and pungent Gorgonzola. Topped with a mustard maple vinaigrette, this salad is a showpiece, rather than a side dish.
I am a supertaster, which means that I am a person who tastes certain flavors and foods more strongly than other people and am particularly sensitive to bitter flavors in foods such as broccoli, kale, coffee, beer, and dark chocolate. About 25% of the population can be considered supertasters.
For years I found kale salads unpalatable, and dark beer deplorable. You may find this surprising, but I really don’t love chocolate. Supertasters cringe at the tiniest bit of bitter, where most folks the same food would only be mildly bitter. My mother is a supertaster, and so is my daughter. (Neither of them loved this salad, truthfully.) But I did.
Somewhere along the line, I taught myself to tolerate bitter greens, or in this case, reds. I felt that as a card holding foodie and professional recipe developer that I really ought to be able to get over this.
One way I mask the bitter is by creating an overall balance of flavors; bitter, salty, sweet, sour and umami. The bitter radicchio and endive in this salad is tempered with apple, orange and a sweet mustard maple vinaigrette. Toasted walnuts and blue cheese provide a needed dose of umami and the cheese also adds a rich, salty flavor.
Some version of this salad appears on our table frequently in the fall and winter months. I think it’s a perfect side for any holiday meal…or any regular meal too. This salad easy to put together, gorgeous and the perfect balance of flavors.
- 1 head radicchio
- 1 head endive
- 1 apple
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts
- ¼ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 1 medium shallot minced, about ¼
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup toasted walnut oil, or olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Core the lettuces and remove the leaves. Rinse and dry well. Tear any very large leaves into smaller pieces and arrange decoratively on a large platter.
- Cut the apple into matchstick slices and toss with fresh lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Scatter on top of the radicchio and endive on the platter.
- Cut away the rind and pith from the orange and cut into round slices, Cut each slice in half and scatter over the salad, along with the toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola. Sprinkle the salad lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the shallot, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and oil in a jar. Seal with the lid and shake vigorously until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad and serve immediately.