Monday, March 29, 2010

Salad of Bitter Italian Greens, Strawberries and Parmesan

Here in Houston we are straddling winter and spring.  Temperatures jumped to the 80's before we were hit by a dramatic cold snap that sent temperatures dipping down into the 30's.  The sudden cold weather had us scrambling to save our tomato, cucumber and eggplant seedlings, while the warmer temperatures sent our cool-weather greens into overdrive, with many plants all hitting maturity at once.  We are now harvesting gorgeous Lettuces, Chicories, Arugula, Kale, Swiss Chard and Asian Greens to name just a few.  The Cilantro, Dill, Parsley and Fennel are also amazing.
When local strawberries showed up at our market, we knew it was time to combine them with something from this abundant harvest. We created a seasonal salad which uses escarole (below), fennel and barba di cappuccino chicory (above) from the garden for a dish that is seriously bitter.  We love these bold flavors which play off the sweet strawberries and salty cheese to perfection.   The recipe makes a filling meal for two, but the salad is so pretty that it would also be a wonderful accompaniment to a main course.  Just be sure to pair it with an entree that has equally strong flavors.
Salad of Bitter Italian Greens, Strawberries and Parmesan
serves 2 as a meal

3            Tbs          minced shallot (about 1 shallot)
2            Tbs          fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1            tsp           red-wine vinegar
1/2         tsp           fine sea salt
1                            escarole head, torn into pieces
1                            barba di cappuccino head (or frisee or radicchio),
                              torn into pieces
1                            small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/4         cup          olive oil
1/4         cup          parmesan, thinly sliced or shaved
1            cup          strawberries, washed and thinly sliced

  1.  Combine shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in olive oil.
  2. Combine greens and fennel in a big mixing bowl.
  3. Toss greens with dressing to coat.
  4. Divide between two plates, top with sliced strawberries and parmesan.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is something extremely stylish - what an unexpected combination of flavours... and it must be very healthy too - it's just a plate of pure vitamins, isn't it!

  3. There's nothing like fresh produce picked out from your own garden. If I ever I have the chance to go to Texas (hmm, when would that be?) I would definitely visit you and your garden.


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