It’s funny how this salad came to be: a rough chop of leftover greens from the crisper drawer and a few odd bits of scrounged fruit. It wasn’t until I had everything assembled on my cutting board that I noticed the unmistakably festive red, white and green colors.
From there it was merely a matter of balancing the flavors – bitter versus sweet – and textures (the kale benefits from a five-minute marinade in the vinaigrette before the salad is tossed) before mounding it next to another holiday staple – tourtière.
One forkful into this plate and I realized it was the perfect match: rich, spiced pork pie with buttery pastry complemented by a slightly bitter, crunchy salad of winter greens.
Not only does this salad boast the colors of Christmas, but it offers a welcome burst of acidity at a time when foods tend to be so rich. I think you’re going to want to stock some kale and pomegranate in the refrigerator this week.
A quick salad fix
All of the ingredients in my Christmas salad can be purchased well ahead of time and forgotten about until the big day, or any night you are craving a big bowl of something fresh and not coated in sprinkles. As long as they are well-wrapped and refrigerated, both winter greens and fruit will stay crisp and fresh for at least a week.
Make a double batch of clementine vinaigrette and you’ll be all set for a quick salad fix over the holidays. For me that is just as essential as a pot of comforting post-Christmas dinner turkey soup on Boxing Day.
If you’re certain that the combination above won’t go over well with your in-laws or guests, these salad ingredients can be easily mixed up to suit your tastes. Here are a few suggestions:
- Dried cranberries ~ for a sweet touch, and a nice balance against the bitter greens.
- Diced apple ~ add it right before serving.
- Toasted nuts ~ pine, pecan, or walnuts would be great.
- Clementine segments ~ can be prepared in advance.
- Endive ~ if radiccio is too bitter.
- Iceberg ~ in place of the Napa cabbage.
- Bacon. Uh huh.
|A Christmas salad of winter greens & fruit||
- 1/2 head of Napa cabbage (a small head)
- 1/2 head of radicchio
- 4-5 stalks kale
- 1/4 cup fresh, organic cranberries
- 1/2 pomegranate
- Clementine-coriander vinaigrette
- Peel outer leaves off of cabbage and radicchio and shred them with a sharp Santoku or chef knife. Don’t worry about making them too thin.
- Wash and dry kale and remove greenery from the stalk. Chop to about the same thickness as the cabbage.
- Wash and drain cranberries, then slice them into rounds with a small paring knife.
- Segment the pomegranate and set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, toss kale with a tablespoon of vinaigrette and allow to marinade for about five minutes.
- Add cabbage and radicchio and toss with a few more tablespoons vinaigrette. Sprinkle sliced cranberries and pomegranates and present at the table. Toss salad one more time before mounding it onto plates.
Do you crave salads in winter?