Sunday, January 8, 2017

Endive, Apple and Avocado Salad

Last Year's Post: Chicken and Wild Rice
Two Years Ago:  Miso-Glazed Scallops with Quinoa and Grilled Pineapple

It's the time of the year when everyone is looking for lighter, healthier meals after the holiday.  This salad was originally created by Giada deLaurentiis' aunt as a holiday side salad but I thought it would be more than substantial enough for a nice vegetarian entree with a few small modifications.  It's got an interesting combination of ingredients.  Fruit and nuts aren't uncommon in a salad and cheese isn't all that unusual either, but corn is the unique addition to the party.  The original recipe called for regular defrosted corn but I happened to have some freeze-dried corn on hand, which I love and thought would work better.  The light crunch and slight sweetness was a great addition.  If you can't find freeze-dried corn (try the produce section of your grocery or a natural foods store), substitute regular corn or just leave it out.  It's still a delicious and substantial salad.

If you're not familiar with Belgian endive, it looks like this.  My checkout person at the grocery store had quite a time figuring out what the right code was for it so apparently not just everyone buys it.

It's mild and crunchy and doesn't wilt in a salad, which makes it great for entertaining or big family get-togethers.  But again, you could certainly substitute other hearty greens or lettuces.

Served with warm crusty bread on the side, this makes a great start to the New Year as a main dish, or a spectacular side salad for a buffet.

Endive, Apple and Avocado Salad
Serves 4 as an entrée or 6-8 as a side salad

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
6 medium heads Belgian endive, ends trimmed and cut crosswise into ½” pieces
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into ½” cubes 
1 avocado, flesh cut into ½” cubes
¼ pound firm white cheese (such as Gouda, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella) cut into ½” cubes
¼ cup dried cranberries, or the seeds of 1 small pomegranate
½ cup freeze-dried corn or defrosted corn kernels
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds

To make the dressing, place the olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl and whisk, or shake in a small jar.  Set aside.

Combine the endive, apple and avocado in a large bowl and toss immediately toss with a small amount of dressing so they don’t turn brown.  Add the remaining ingredients and enough additional dressing to coat lightly.  Serve.

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