In our book, a terrific salad can outshine anything else on the table. A dynamic dressing and the right combo of greens are what you should be looking for, and this recipe for Chicory Salad with Anchovy Dressing demonstrates that.
Every now and then I like a salad with attitude. This one has it, with its mix of assertive, crunchy radicchio, pungent anchovy-lemon dressing, and crispy croutons. Serve it with a rich main course such as Vegetable-Stuffed Pasta Shells or Crêpe Cannelloni with Mushrooms and Zucchini.
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 garlic clove, pressed
4 Rizzoli-brand alici in salsa piccante or best-quality imported Italian or Spanish anchovy fillets in olive oil, coarsely chopped, plus 1 tbsp of the oil
1 tbsp smooth dijon mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 dashes of worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/3 to 1/2 cup (75 to 120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head radicchio di chioggia (8 oz/225 g), torn into large pieces
1 head radicchio di castelfranco (8 oz/225 g), curly endive, or frisée, torn into large pieces
1/2 cup (60 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 cups (60 g) bread croutons (see Cook's Note)
In a small bowl, mix together the salt and garlic to form a paste. Whisk in the anchovies and 1 tbsp of their oil, and then whisk in the mustard, mayon¬naise, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the lemon juice. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until the dressing is thick and emulsified.
Place the radicchios in a large bowl and toss together. Pour the dressing over and toss to combine. Sprinkle the cheese on top and toss again. Transfer the salad to a decorative bowl and top with the croutons. Serve immediately.
COOK'S NOTE: To make bread croutons, spread 2 cups (60 g) cubed Italian country bread on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle 1 to 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil over them. Toss well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, if you like, and toss again. Spread the bread cubes out in a single layer. Bake at 400°F/200°C/gas 6 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are evenly browned and crisp. Let cool before using.
Reprinted from The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, Chronicle Books (2013). Article originally posted from the Splendid Table's website.