CANDY CANE SALAD
It doesn’t take much to inspire me into playing with my food. But there’s something curious about the holiday season –can’t quite put my finger on it– but I’m just plum nuts about this time of year and the brilliant colors I see everywhere–from holiday decorations, wrapping papers and ribbons to the dazzling foods I find at the farmers’ markets.
This season just makes me tingle with joy and urges me to spend extra time in my favorite niche, the kitchen, quietly creating a little of this or that. Sometimes I have an image in my mind about how a dish ought to look, or perhaps I focus on the flavor I’m aiming for.
In the case of this cheery salad, the final dish didn’t even come close to what I had pictured. I was aiming for a salad of stripes just like a candy cane but found it absolutely didn’t work in a bowl.
I set that idea aside and will definitely take another stab at it, because it simply won’t let go of me.
In my next attempt, I created a bed of greens and then, aimed for the bright reds and whites of a candy cane. The salad is still a work in progress, but for now, it makes me smile and I can almost hear it singing “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa . . .” Next time, I just might crush one half of a candy cane and toss it in to get that nice, sweet, minty accent.
You can make the salad a day in advance (don’t toss it), cover it well with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it. Bring it to the table before tossing it so you can show off it’s glistening colors.
Enjoy it with your favorite dressing. Some have a preference for a light oil and vinegar dressing, but my favorite for this salad is a thick, creamy white, savory dressing!
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1 head romaine, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size peices
3 leaves kale, torn into bite-size pieces
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small head cauliflower, finely chopped
1 small jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 bunch radishes, sliced
1 large pomegranate, seeded, 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, for garnish
- In an extra large salad bowl, combine the romaine, red leaf lettuce, kale, and mint. Set aside.
- Chop the green onions. Add the green portion to the lettuces and mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly. Spread the lettuces to the edges of the bowl, creating a slight well in the center.
- Put the white portion of the green onions into another large bowl.
- Add the cauliflower, jicama, radishes, pomegranate, red bell pepper, and pine nuts to the white portion of chopped green onions and mix well.
- Spoon this colorful mixture into the center of the lettuces and garnish with the cherry tomatoes around the edges and reserved pomegranate seeds in the center.