Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

This pretty in pink chicory salad gets bright pops of color and flavor from salty-sweet cheese, crisp apples, mild fennel and radish, and toasty walnuts, all wrapped up in a shallot vinaigrette. 

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

I was thrilled to see that Bon Appétit dubbed chicories 2017’s Vegetable of the Year. I started out 2017 with a chicory salad – they always seem like the perfect antidote to holiday decadence. Even though it’s a new year and a new vegetable will be knighted this summer (any guesses?!), I’m still on a chicory kick.

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

We’ve eaten this salad just about every day since November. It’s got it all: crunchy and slightly bitter raddichio, treviso, and endive, crispy-sweet apples, mild fennel and radish, toasty walnuts, salty grana, and a light dressing punctuated by pickled shallot. Pomegranate arils add extra sweetness and crunch if you can find them.

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

With simple salads like these, every ingredient counts, so use the best you can find. My favorite iteration was when we found super sweet fresh walnuts from Full Belly Farm and a ridiculously good grana called Big Sky from Bleu Mont Dairy in Wisconsin that tastes almost caramelized. Look for apples with enough sweetness to offset the bitter chicories; honeycrisp are my favorites, but pink ladies and fujis are a close second.

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

The dressing we use in this chicory salad is Jay’s standard shallot vinaigrette. It only has four ingredients and it tastes like MAGIC. I brought some to our food styling and photography workshop this past spring and our guests went crazy for it.

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

You can use any chicories you like here. We usually stick with radicchio, treviso, and endive. Endive tends to be the most mild of the bunch, seconded by radicchio, and treviso (the oblong burgundy chicory) usually tastes the most bitter, particularly toward the root end. If you’re sensitive to bitter tastes, stick with endive, or mix in some lettuce such as little gems.

Wishing you all a sweet 2018!

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

*Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this apple chicory salad, I’d love to see! Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and  #bojongourmet.*

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana
Yields: 2 large or 4 smaller servings
 
Simple salads like these are all about high-quality ingredients, so use the best of everything you can find. If you're new to chicories, stick with the milder varieties such as endive and radicchio, or use a mix of chicories and lettuce if you prefer. Grana is the younger, sweeter cousin to parmesan, but I've offered a few suggestions below if you can't find any. These measurements are loose, so feel free to adjust the salad components to your taste.
Ingredients
Vinaigrette:
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more to taste)
Salad:
  • 4 cups chicory leaves (a mix of endive, radicchio, and Treviso), in large pieces
  • 1 medium apple, cut off the core and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium watermelon radish, peeled if skin is tough, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 ounces grana, shaved (or other crumbly aged cheese such as parmesan, manchego, gruyere, or asiago)
  • ½ cup (50 g) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped or broken up
  • arils from half a large pomegranate (optional)
  • flaky salt such as Maldon
  • ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small jar, combine the shallot and salt. Mash with a small spoon until pulpy. Add the vinegar, stir to combine, then add the olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicories with the apple, radish, and fennel. Spoon over some of the vinaigrette, making sure to grab some of the vinegar and shallot that will settle on the bottom, and toss to combine. Sprinkle over the cheese, walnuts, pomegranate if using, and a few pinches of salt and pepper and toss gently. Taste, adding more vinaigrette, salt, pepper, or olive oil if you feel the salad needs it. Serve right away.

Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana

9 thoughts on “Apple Chicory Salad with Fennel, Walnuts, and Grana”

  1. Yummmmm this looks so good! I’ve been meaning to pick up some watermelon radishes for a while – so nice to have some bright in this gross ass winter.

    Was going to go to the farmers market today, buuuuut there’s kitten poop samples to be dropped off. So glamourous. hahahaha.

    xx

    1. Seriously, I so appreciate colorful foods this time of year. (Come to California!!) Your new babies are SOOOOOO cute! Good luck working up an appetite after that errand, haha!

  2. Hi, I’m a little confused about the ingredients for the dressing: is it two or three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar – isn’t 30 ml just two tablespoons? The salad looks beautiful with all those colors!

    1. Apologies for the confusion and thanks for catching that! I had updated the amount in tablespoons and neglected to change the metric amount. :) Updated!

  3. I love the way you usually use the watermelon radish for many recipes. Not only do the dishes delicious but only they look impressive, dedicate and adorable.
    Like it’s not about food but art 🙂

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