Match your salads for the winter – the possibilities are pretty endless

When you think of summer dishes, you immediately think of refreshing things like cool cucumbers, iced watermelons or freshly picked peaches. It’s time to focus on our “beach bodies”: We pop in and out of the gym and then head straight to our favorite restaurant for a big bowl of summer roughage.

Once the first autumn breeze blows in, we almost immediately shift gears to more delicious food. Inspired by what’s happening around us with the changing leaves crunching beneath our feet, the scent of a burning fireplace opens minds to smoked foods.

Media and juniper are thought of when roasting foods or a little oil in winter cocktails. Pumpkin spice is everywhere, and at this point, you just have to give in the pounds you’ll likely get from all the hearty feasting over the holidays.

But it is entirely possible to stay in the mindset of summer flavors throughout the year as you discover and realize all the amazing and healthy options available during the cold months.

My wife and I love salads, so some of our dinners will be a bowl of greens with some fancy cheese and some grilled meat, simply mixed with extra virgin olive oil, Crushed black pepper, some lemon and sea salt. That’s really all we need.

For this simple pleasure during the colder months, I prefer greens with stronger leaves, such as collard greens, radicchio, endive, kale, and collards. I love these for their softness and ability to pair well with other winter treats, such as warm chestnuts, pomegranates, luxury bread, black rice, cranberries, persimmons, and squash grilled, just to name a few. Pairing greens with thinly shaved Brussels sprouts, broiled cauliflowers, toasted barley, and beetroot vinaigrette can add festive color and flavor to any holiday together.

These winter creations can be super low-maintenance, such as simply roasting a pear and pairing it with seasonal greens, shaved Parmesan, and a simple balsamic dressing. The possibilities are pretty endless. Who says you have to ditch your beach body mode just because you wear layers? Join the winter salad game and start the summer game.

Here is a very simple but equally delicious winter salad that is very easy to prepare.

ICEHot Roasted Radicchio, Smoked Mozzarella Cheese, Buckwheat, Aged Balsamic. (Photo courtesy of Culinary Training Institute)


Recipe: Warm Grilled Radicchio, Smoked Mozzarella Cheese, Buckwheat, Aged Balsamic


For buckwheat:

  • 1 cup buckwheat (kasha)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper (optional)
  • 1 ball of smoked mozzarella
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 1 bunch spinach, washed and dried

For aged balsamic vinegar:

  • 3/4 cup Modena Aged Balsamic Vinegar (ripe is fine)
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  1. In a saucepan, add the buckwheat, water, oil and salt and bring to a simmer.
  2. Turn off the heat when the buckwheat is just soft, not overcooked and mushy, about 10 minutes on low heat.
  3. Drain the water and rinse the buckwheat. Remove to a tray and let cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, place it in a bowl and mix with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Take the top of the radicchio and cut it into quarters, leaving the bottom stem to hold the leaves together. Toss the radicchio in the marinade until completely coated. In between the leaves, place thin slices of smoked mozzarella.
  5. Place the stuffed radicchio on a tray and bake in the oven at 350°F until the leaves are slightly wilted and the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. In a stainless steel bowl, take the washed spinach and mix with 3 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar.
  7. On a serving plate or bowl, gently place the warm stuffed radicchio. Put some buckwheat flour on top and lastly, add the chopped spinach. Drizzle with balsamic as desired.

By Chef Chris Scott, Culinary Education Institute–the-possibilities-are-quite-endless_partner/ Match your salads for the winter – the possibilities are pretty endless

Bobby Allyn

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