Crunchy, sweet and pleasantly bitter, this roasted pear and radicchio salad is sure to brighten up any winter day.
Winter meals can be challenging, especially when it comes to salads. While summer is filled with fresh produce, we naturally gravitate more towards comfort food when the options dwindle in winter. But sometimes you just want a little lightness and crunch, something to liven up those last gloomy days before spring officially starts.
That’s where this roasted pear and radicchio salad comes in; bitter, sweet, crunchy and fresh, it’s the antidote to those heavy winter meals we’ve all been subsisting on the last couple months.
It’s a colorful and elegant looking salad you could certainly serve for a special occasion or holiday meal but it’s also easy enough to make any day of the week. Eat it for lunch or serve it as part of a larger meal for dinner. What makes this winter salad so delightfully refreshing is the interplay of contrasting tastes and textures.
Raw radicchio can sometimes be intimidatingly bitter on its own so it’s best to pair it with other strong flavors to balance it out. In this salad roasted pears and radicchio complement each other, the sweetness of the fruit taming the naturally bitter edge of the radicchio. Refreshingly sweet and crisp shavings of fennel, toasty bits of walnuts, chewy bites of dried figs and wispy salad greens are also added for extra hits of flavor and texture.
Roasting the pears intensifies their sweetness even further as they caramelize in the heat of the oven. The process is simple, just toss the slices of ripe but firm pears with a bit of fig jam and olive oil and pop them in the oven until tender and golden. The dressing is easy as well; just a basic white wine vinaigrette blended with a little more fig jam to pull all the flavors together.
Toss it all together and you have yourself a salad that’s sure to brighten up any winter day.
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