Saturday, 7 January 2012

Space-Time Salad!

Insalata di Radicchio di Treviso, Rucola, Topinambur & Prugne 
Salad of Radicchio di Treviso, Arugula, Sun-Chokes and Plum

So it is freezing cold, raining, dark, dreary and depressing outside and you are in Frankfurt, Germany... and the forecast for the next 10 days is looking much the same. The streets are filled with billions of people with bulging shopping bags from the sales- apparently unaware of the fact that they have already spent loads of money on loads of gifts that no one really needed over the Festive Season and are supposed to be in the middle of a recession. The weather is getting you down, the crowds are getting you down and the weight you gained over Christmas and the New Year is getting you down. What are you going to do? You are going to get yourself over to the market hall, that's what you are going to do- where salvation awaits!

This incredibly Summery-looking salad is made of seasonal produce- the curly radicchio from Treviso in Italy, the locally grown arugula and sun-chokes... and the plums... well look, I don't know everything! But they were there and they were the perfect juicy and tangy addition to the other ingredients... so I popped them all in my bag and hurried home to transport myself instantly into a sunnier spot for supper!

The trick with radicchio, is to soak it in warm water with a little salt and sugar for 10-15 minutes- this will lessen the bitterness- unless of course you LIKE the bitterness, like I do. But then again- I AM Sicilian after all!

The sun-chokes are simply peeled and thinly sliced, then laid in lime juice in order to keep them from going off-color. Eaten raw, they have a similar texture and flavor to water-chestnuts and though usually bland, sometimes they actually do taste a little like artichokes. But alas not today- today it was all about crunch and freshness and that was fine with me in order to compliment and counterpoint the bitter radicchio.

I chose arugula as the main green leaf, as I thought its peppery flavor would bring a little depth into the flavors- especially when combined with a sweeter ingredient such as the plum. And of course I chose all 4 ingredients with their appearance in mind- there is no reason for Wintery food to looke lifeless and drab!

Thyme was the herb of choice and the dressing was made of lime juice, olive oil, honey and a little mustard. I tossed everything lightly in this fresh and simple dressing and added a light sprinkle of my seasoned salt with lavender and thyme- and there I was! Transported to the Summer in the wink of an eye! All I need to do now is to work on a portion large enough tp last me till July...

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