I didn’t plan this salad but when I unpacked my market basket, all of the ingredients were there, begging to be assembled.  It was the perfect antidote to a dark, grey, beginning-of-the darkest month of winter day.  And it just goes to show: brightness is where you least expect it.

Some tips before you make the salad:

*When removing leaves from Belgian endive, cut off the stem end to release them, little by little. You’ll end up with rounds of tender endive stem which, if you’re like me, you will pop into your mouth as you cook. Otherwise, add them to the salad.

*We get two varieties of persimmon in our markets, Hachiya and Cinnamon Persimmon. The Hachiya is best ripe, when its flesh turns to jello.  The Cinnamon persimmon can be eaten while it is still quite firm, which is the best way to use it in this salad.  When you slice it thin, the slices are gorgeously translucent.

*Small haas avocados are the best. They’re ripe when the tip gives slightly (like the tip of your nose does when you press on it).  Also, if you pop out the stem, the flesh it reveals should be pale green.

*Baby turnips don’t need peeling. Just give them a good scrub

*the rosemary is optional. For now, it is the only green herb in the garden, and so aromatic!

*Don’t toss this salad. Assemble it.

WINTER SALAD

For the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, sliced paper-thin
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves — optional

For the salad:
3 medium Belgian endives, rinsed, trimmed, leaves separated
1 medium clementine, peeled, sections separated
1/2 medium persimmon, thinly sliced
1 medium avocado, cut in quarters and cut on the diagonal
6 baby turnips, trimmed, cut into thin rounds
Fleur de sel

  1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and the vinegar. Whisk in the mustard, then the shallot.  When they are combined, whisk in the oil. Taste for seasoning.
  2. Mince the rosemary, and whisk it into the vinaigrette.
  3. Arrange all of the ingredients in a large, shallow plate.  Make sure all the colors are showing.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette, then sprinkle with fleur de sel.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 4

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