Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of the cold. My mom still talks about finding me in the middle of a hot Bay Area summer, sitting on the couch reading with a huge blanket covering me up. Even now, in the midst of a (granted, mild) winter in San Diego, I have on my bed: flannel sheets and a regular comforter topped with THREE down comforters. Sure makes it tough to get up in the morning.
This love of warmth translates to food, too – I’ve never been too fond of salads, as I prefer my greens steamy and soft – a tender biteful of garlicky greens over a crunchy crisp romaine for me, thanks. But maybe I’m coming around! I have a massage client with an orchard, and she tips me in fresh, straight-from-the-tree fruit. It’s heavenly, and this month I’m swimming in Fuyu persimmon and mandarin oranges, thanks to her bounty. I saw this salad in Cooking Light, and had to face my salad fears to try it. I’m glad I did – it’s peppery, sweet and spicy and showcases the winter flavors I love. I subbed out the hazelnuts for candied walnuts and the persimmon for mandarin oranges, and it translated well:
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 2)
2 cups thinly sliced peeled ripe Fuyu persimmon (about 2), or the same amount fresh mandarin orange sections
1 (5-ounce) package bagged prewashed arugula
a generous handful toasted or candied nuts
Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a whisk. Throw the fennel, fruit and arugula in a big bowl, toss with dressing and top with nuts. Pair with something warm, for god’s sake!
Hope everyone had a holly jolly one!