Chicory is a challenging green to work with in the kitchen. Notable for its bitterness, it mellows somewhat when cooked. An especially lovely dish is chicory slowly braised with onions and olive oil. The greens become meltingly tender and sweet.
Here, I’ve paired wilted chicory leaves with shallots, olives and orange in a light salad that can be served as an appetizer or side dish.
1 head chicory, leaves washed and spun dry, then torn into bite-sized pieces
4 large shallots, trimmed and peeled
2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 blood orange, peeled, pith removed and cut into sections
2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the shallots:
Fill a small bowl with ice water.
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add shallots. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, then plunge shallots into the ice water. Drain again and slice shallots into wedges. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots to the pan and cook, stirring frequently or until shallots become golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the salad:
In the same pan, add chicory leaves and toss. Let leaves wilt slightly and remove from heat immediately. If you leave the chicory in the pan for too long, the leaves will wilt completely.
Place chicory in a salad bowl. Add shallots, olives and blood orange segments. Toss. Whisk together blood orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Taste for salt and add a touch of cayenne pepper. Dress salad with salad dressing. Serve at once.
Time: 30 minutes, including prep.