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A Salad Fit to Begin or End Your Meal

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Sometimes I crave a simple salad, full of flavor with few ingredients. I was inspired by a salad I had enjoyed at Terra in Century City. White and red Belgian endive leaves along with light green baby gem leaves were combined with thin, crisp pear crescents and creamy blue cheese crumbles. All this tossed together with a bright chive lemon dressing. I love the rustic look of the presentation. This is a salad that is good as a starter or a finale for a meal. I’ve served it both ways. Serving this after the main course is refreshing and cleanses the palate.

Baby gem lettuce has become widely available at supermarkets. It’s a cross between romaine and butter lettuce, with a slightly sweet flavor and lots of nooks and crannies for the dressing to cling to.

This miniature lettuce is fun to have in your cold pantry, because you can serve it cut into spears, sliced, or even eaten whole. If you are having trouble finding baby gem lettuce, use crisp romaine lettuce leaves—light green and white parts for crunch.

I like the buttery, assertive flavor of blue cheese like Gorgonzola, Castello or Cambozola. You could also use goat or feta cheese crumbles, if you prefer. The thinly sliced pear halves add a satisfying, slightly sweet counterpart to the fresh, citrus flavor of the vinaigrette. Whenever you serve this outstanding Seriously Simple salad, you’ll be delighted with the results.

Tasty Tips

  • Add toasted pine nuts, pecans or pistachios.
  • Add strips of cooked chicken for a main course salad.
  • Use different fruit, depending upon the season.

Endive, Baby Gem and Pear Salad with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 baby gem heads of lettuces, root removed, cleaned, whole leaves or 2 Romaine heads, white and light green part only, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 Belgian endives, cleaned, root removed and sliced vertically or left whole
  • 1 Bosc, Comice or Anjou pear, cored, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

For the Dressing

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

Directions

1. For the dressing combine the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil and whisk until blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

2. Combine the lettuce leaves, endive spears and pear slices in a salad bowl.

3. Pour over just enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves and toss to combine. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles. Serve in shallow bowls or salad plates.

 



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