I believe you dine with your eyes, your nose and your mouth. This salad pleases all three senses, especially when served with oven roasted marinated lamb chops.
Bitter greens combine with carrots, oranges and turnips tossed with a lemon and shallot vinaigrette that will make you moan with pleasure at first bite.
Lamb chops marinated with lemon, garlic and oregano were wonderful. But the eye popping salad stole the show at dinner.
Bitter Greens With Carrots, Turnips, And Oranges
½ cup walnuts
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
⅓ cup olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
3 cups watercress, tough stems removed
½ head of radicchio, halved lengthwise, core removed, leaves separated, larger leaves torn
6 baby carrots, scrubbed, thinly sliced into rounds
1 small turnip scrubbed and very thinly sliced lengthwise
2 oranges, peel and white pith removed, sliced into rounds, seeds removed
¼ cup kumquats, sliced into rounds, seeds removed (optional)
Flaky sea salt (for serving)
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; chop coarsely
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, and mustard in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil. Whisk until emulsified; season vinaigrette with kosher salt and pepper. Stir in thyme.
Toss watercress, radicchio, carrots, turnips, oranges, kumquats (if using), and toasted walnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette, season with sea salt and pepper, and toss again to coat.
I reduced the volume of this salad because it was only for two, but not the dressing. I still have enough of everything to make it again! I used one Cara Cara orange for its nice pink color and one Valencia orange for contras in color and size. The raw turnip was a very good taste surprise in the salad. I added a few leaves of curly endive for dark color and another bitter bite. I substituted rice vinegar for the champagne vinegar called for in the original recipe. This vinaigrette was so good I want to play with it more… maybe substitute mirin for the rice vinegar. I used mirin made from sake, not the grocery store alcohol and seasonings kind. There is a difference!
It was convenient to increase the oven temp after removing the toasted walnuts. I roasted the lamb chops in the oven at 400º to an internal temp of 160 because I like the pink on the inside. If it had been a little warmer, I’d have grilled them outside.