Bittersweet salad

Bittersweet_salad.jpg

 

I love this salad from Yotam Ottolenghi – he describes it as his Valentine’s Day salad, as it represents the realistic flavours of love: bitter and sweet. However, there are many reasons to serve this salad to your family and friends, not the least of which is the glorious combination of red colours which come from the radicchio, red endive, pomegranate seeds and of course, the blood orange and are so representative of the Mediterranean. It is so hard to describe the bursts of flavours which come from this wonderful dish, so all I can do is urge you to try it – it will most certainly become a favourite. Perfect as a starter.

This recipe will serve 2, so adjust according to numbers.

 

Bittersweet salad

2 blood oranges

blood orange juice, as needed

20ml lemon juice

60ml maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

1/2 samll radicchio

1 small red endive (red chicory), leaves separated

1 tablespoon olive oil

handful of small red leaves, such as purple basil, red orach, red amaranth red chard

150g good-quality ricotta

20g pine nuts, toasted

100g pomegranate seeds (1 small pomegranate)

coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Start by making the orange syrup. Take each of the blood oranges in turn and use a small sharp knife to slice off the top and base. Now cut down the side of the orange, following its natural curve, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to remove the individual segments into the bowl. Squeeze all the juice from the membrane and skin into a small saucepan.
 
Make up the juice in the pan to 110ml with extra blood orange juice. Add the lemon juice, maple syrup and a pinch of salt and bring to a light simmer. Leave to reduce for 20-25 minutes, or until you are left with about 3 tablespoons of thick syrup. Strain it through a fine sieve and allow to coll down, then stir in the orange blossom water.
 
Pull apart the radicchio leaves and tear them roughly into large pieces. Put into a mixing bowl, the add the endive leaves, oil and some salt and pepper. Toss gently. Divide the salad leaves between two serving plates, dot with orange segments, small red leaves and spoonfuls of the ricotta, building the salad up. Drizzle with the orange syrup and finish with a scattering of pine nuts and the pomegranate seeds.
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