Our Christmas Eve dinner usually includes a plated courses in place of the family-style dinners we do for Saturday night. While the prep work during the day can be a bit annoying the salad course goes from component pieces to finished product in less than 5 minutes. When the plating starts folks know we’re about to get serious with the eating and find their places around the table.
This year used a recipe from The Way We Cook by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven as a starting point. I’ve tweaked the ingredient list a bit and written up the instructions in my own words. Enjoy.
Watercress and Endive Salad with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 bunch of watercress, stems removed
- 1/2 head read leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
- 3 Belgian endives, sliced diagonally into 1/2″ slices
- 4 scallions, trimmed, whites cut into 1/4″ pieces and greens cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
- 3 Tbsp. “red matter” (or 1 shallot finely diced)
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- juice from 1 Meyer lemon
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Combine the watercress and lettuce in a salad spinner. Rinse twice and then spin several times until dry. Set aside.
- Combine the endives and scallions in a bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the cranberries and toasted pistachios in a bowl. Yup, your going to set it aside.
- Make your dressing – mix together the red matter (or shallot), garlic, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk while drizzling in the oil in a slow stream to form an emulsion. Taste periodically and adjust salt & pepper to your liking. Cover with plastic wrap and, you guessed it, set aside.
- When ready to plate – start with a handful of watercress & lettuce, add some endive and scallions and top with the cranberries and pistachios. Drizzle the salad with your dressing and serve.
“Red matter” is a guajillo and caramelized shallot jam that my husband makes in large batches a couple of times each year. It turned our dressing a festive red. A shallot can be substituted.