I have not always been a lover of chicory. In fact as a child I hated it. My Mum would regularly put it into salads and I just didn’t get it! But now I do and I love it! Chicory does have an edge of bitterness but it also has a delicate sweetness and is brilliant for using in winter salads. The two types of chicory that go into this salad are the torpedo shaped Witloof chicory and the deep red white streaked leaves of raddichio di Treviso. It is a quick and easy colourful salad to put together, looks beautiful on a large flat plate and tastes deliciously refreshing.
This salad makes a great base for adding other ingredients if wanted. Try topping it with some sliced fried halloumi cheese or sliced roasted duck breast or sliced roasted chicken breast or sliced griddled steak.
- For the salad
- ½ red raddichio (about 100g)
- 1 large chicory head or 2 small (about 160g)
- 1 small florence fennel (about 220g), finely sliced
- 2-3 oranges, blood oranges or red oranges, peeled (as for segmenting) and sliced into wheels
- 1 large ripe avocado or 2 small, peeled and sliced
- 10-15 mint leaves, torn up
- handful of dry fried pecan nuts, hazel nuts and pumpkin seeds
- handful of mustard seed micro salad leaves (optional) or cress or rocket leaves or watercress
- For the dressing
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of half
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1tsp runny honey or soft brown sugar
- 1tsp dijon mustard
- flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Make the dressing by putting all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisking to combine with a fork. Taste and adjust the dressing to your liking.
- Lay the chicory leaves evenly out onto a large flat plate/platter, then the raddichio leaves (you may need to tear these up a bit) , avocado slices, orange slices, florence fennel slices.
- Throw over the nuts and seeds, torn mint leaves and mustard micro salad leaves (if using), cress or rocket leaves or watercress.
- Give the dressing a final whisk and pour over the top.
After making the seville orange, honey and thyme mustard the other week, I had loads of yellow (also known as white mustard seeds) and brown mustard seeds left over. Yellow mustard seeds are fun and so easy to grow in the kitchen and they make a fantastic sweet and slightly peppery addition to loads of different salads.
If you have a jar of mustard seeds in your spice cupboard why don’t you give it a go and get some on their way to germination today. Children love to get involved with this too, as a child I remember growing mustard and cress in empty egg shells. We would draw a face on the shells and everyday rush down to the kitchen to check on their fast growing edible hair styles!
I’d forgotten how fast the germination is!
All you need is a plate, cotton wool and some mustard seed. Put the cotton wool onto the plate and soak with water. Sprinkle over the mustard seeds, keep the cotton wool well watered and hey presto in 9-10 days your micro mustard salad leaves are ready to snip into salads.
I trialled both yellow and brown mustard seeds. The yellow mustard seed grew the fastest with a slighter larger leaf and were milder in taste. But both trials worked and were equally delicious and rewarding.
This is what I call fast food!
I’m trialling some caraway seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds this week in the kitchen using the same growing method. I’ll let you know how I get on! I’m really excited to see how they look and taste.
Thanks for calling by the blog today. I hope you make this tasty treasure hunt of a salad and also grow yourself some micro mustard greens. I have loved having them in the kitchen to snip into salads and they are particularly tasty when added to an egg sandwich.
Top tip: Dry frying nuts and seeds really brings out their unique flavours as it does spices. Just heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add you nuts or seeds and cook until they become fragrant and take on a little colour, shaking the pan frequently.