The flavors of this radicchio salad blend beautifully between sweet, tangy, bitter, crunchy and chewy. The well balanced flavors of the vinaigrette give this complex dressing an unbelievable subtleness.
Now that I'm back working, an easy, fast, and conscious-eating salad is my go-to for most of my lunches. It is practical, nutritious and tasty at the same time. And you can make endless variations so you'll never be tired of it. Just exchange types of greens; get the crunch from nuts and fruits (fresh or dried); add some protein of your choice (mine is usually among: legumes, tofu, dairy, sometimes a boiled egg or canned tuna); include grains, olives, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, fennel, radishes; mix, match and concoct different dressings and the problem is solved.
To make this salad I used a crisp lettuce, few aromatic wild greens, some colorful and bitter radicchio leaves, a handful of cranberries, scattered macadamia nuts, and a generous dose of grated Asiago. The idea of the grated Asiago, instead of the chunks or slices, came from a delicious kale salad with grated Pecorino on top that we had in a restaurant in Calgary. I liked that the cheese just mingled harmoniously with the other ingredients without being predominant.
Generally, I only dress my salad with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Boring, I know, but I like it like that. No pepper, no vinegar, not even a squeeze of lemon. And never -unless for reasons beyond my control- a bottled dressing. Here, in this Radicchio and Wild Greens Salad with Asiago, Macadamia Nuts and Cranberries, I asked for Loreto's help to create a vinaigrette that complimented the salad but that was also appealing to my tastebuds. It didn't have to be strong and acidic, for once, but it needed add an interest and build a dimension to a simple mixed salad. Loreto is pretty amazing in everything he does in the kitchen, but sauces, dips and dressings are his "forte". Not mine in the least .
The flavors of the salad blend beautifully between sweet, tangy, bitter, crunchy and chewy. The vinaigrette is not overpowering, I can actually enjoy it 😉 . Layers of flavor ranging from the earthiness of the olive oil, blended with the sweetness of the tropical juice and sugar, a bit of bite from the sriracha, added nuttiness from the peanut sauce, and mayo to balance all the flavors equally, giving this complex dressing an unbelievable subtleness.
I packed the greens in a big Tupperware that has on the lid little pockets for the toppings and a little bottle for the dressing. I am set. Having lunch on my desk at work, is not that bad, after all.
[Some notes on radicchio, since I'm italian and mostly because I love it, every variety of it. My favorite is Radicchio di Treviso IGP in the tardivo type, with its lancelike leaves, tightly packed heads that come to a point at the top, deep red in color with a white rib, distinctive bitter flavor and crunchy texture, and high prize. Perfect either raw or cooked, often seen in risotto or grilled. I've never seen it in Canada, unfortunately. Radicchio di Verona IGP, long oval shape, compact leaves of intense dark red decorated with a white midrib. Again, perfect either raw or cooked, from appetizers to dessert. Radicchio di Chioggia, with its cabbage-shaped head is the most commonly found in supermarkets in Italy and abroad and it is the variety I used for this salad. Mostly used in salads, but it's good also cooked (if you don't find the other varieties you can still make a pretty good risotto with it). Radicchio di Castelfranco, less known and widespread, with its yellowish cream leaf and red speckles, it is a tender, beautiful, rose-shaped lettuce, used in salads.]
Enjoy your weekday, and don't forget to smile 🙂 .
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For the salad:
- 2 cups lettuce, shredded
- 4 radicchio leaves, shredded
- ½ cup wild greens
- cranberries, a handful
- macadamia nuts, a handful
- ¼ cup Asiago, grated
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dill
- Salt and pepper
- Drop of sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon of tropical juice of your choice
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of peanut sauce
- Couple drops of balsamic vinegar
- In a bowl mix in all the greens and radicchio.
- Top with dried cranberries, macadamia nuts and grated Asiago cheese.
- In a large ramekin pour in oil, juice, balsamic vinegar.
- Whisk vigorously and sprinkle dried dill, sriracha, sugar, peanut sauce, salt and pepper, while mixing.
- Add mayo and whisk again till dressing becomes smooth.
- Pour dressing a little at a time on top of salad till desired flavor is achieved.
- Ready to serve.
You do not have to use all the dressing, just taste as you mix till the flavor meets your taste. You can store the rest of the dressing in the fridge for a couple days.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Serving Size: 2 servings
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