Watercress and Endive Salad with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries

[Watercress and Endive Salad with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries]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
Servings: 6
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


  1. Combine the watercress and lettuce in a salad spinner. Rinse twice and then spin several times until dry. Set aside.
  2. Combine the endives and scallions in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine the cranberries and toasted pistachios in a bowl. Yup, your going to set it aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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