Crunchy, Cruciferous, Winter Salad Doubles as a Holiday Table Side or Christmas Brunch Centerpiece
Probably like many of you, I woke up this morning in a snowstorm kind of blur and realized Christmas is really just two nights and a day away. My favorite time a year, without a doubt. Church bells toll throughout a beautifully decorated downtown Charleston and my heart starts warming with memories of Christmas’s past and those yet to come.
I’d intended to get this recipe to you sooner, but here it is, hopefully in time to flesh out your holiday table with glorious cruciferous crunch, the red, green and white colors of the season, and cheerful, tangy creaminess. I’ve been making a conscious effort to get more of these foods into my diet, and this is a truly delicious way to enjoy them. I’m guessing most children will enjoy this, too. I know my cat Mr. Purrfect and dog Rocky were especially interested in their cauliflower offerings.
This salad would be perfectly wonderful alongside a standing beef roast or turkey and also paired with a Christmas morning or brunch frittata, omelet, or turkey sandwich. Make it a few hours ahead and up to the night before serving so the flavors can develop to their holiday best. To make the florets, cut away nearly all of the hard stems from the broccoli and cauliflower and either crumble or cut into the smaller pieces pictured here.
Holiday Cauliflower-Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts
(Serves 6 to 8)
For the salad:
2 large stalks broccoli, stalks removed and cut into florets – about 3 cups
1/2 large head cauliflower, core and stems removed, and cut into florets – about 2 cups
1/2 small onion, very finely chopped – about 1/4 cup
1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
For the dressing:
1/2 cup whole sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s)
1 tablespoon horseradish cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Toss the broccoli, cauliflower, onion, cranberries and walnuts together in a large bowl. Separately, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish cream, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and chives in a small bowl until smooth. Toss the salad with the dressing to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours before serving, chilled.
Wishing you and yours the best and most wonderful, happy, delicious, blessed and beautiful holiday and gateway into 2019. I have some exciting news to be sharing with you soon. Until we get there, I’ll be taking time with you to slow down and savor the joyful season.
Of late, I’ve become increasingly sensitive to waste. Wasted clothing, wasted time, wasted paper, and especially wasted food. Most Saturday mornings I go through my fridge to assess what I need to shop for that day. This involves cleaning out food that’s “past due” and that horrible sensation of throwing out and wasting what was once perfectly good food.
I’ve always hated doing this, my mother taking the motto of “waste not, want not” to epic proportions (she even re-uses underwear!), but in a world where so many are in need from the ravages of storms, disasters, poverty and more, it seems even more reprehensible.
So, when I saw three forgotten Winesap apples I had picked up at the farmers’ markets several weeks ago were starting to soften and fade, I refused to render them refuse and instead, decided to turn them into a tart. I also had some prepared frozen puff pastry in the freezer left over from recipe testing for a book I wrote on tarts, so there was yet another reason to make it happen.
With holidays on the horizon and Thanksgiving coming in two weeks, this tart is delicious and incredibly easy to make. In fact, it comes together in less than 30 minutes, and could be prepared while the turkey is resting and baked while everyone’s digging into their Thanksgiving feast, simultaneously perfuming the air with its heady aromas.
Normally, I’m not a fan of prepared pastry, but prepared puff pastry is so complicated to make and increasingly delicious prepared. I say, go for it! I like Pepperidge Farm best. All you have to do is remember to defrost it over-night in the refrigerator or set aside 40 minutes for it to thaw at room temp. Tart/sweet, nutty, and rife with the aromas of cinnamon and vanilla, a warm slice of this tart practically begs for a generous scoop of best-quality vanilla ice cream. You can prep and assemble it a few hours ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator before backing. Bon appetit!
Easy Peasy Apple Walnut Tart
(Makes 6 servings)
3 apples (suggest a tart/sweet variety like Granny Smith or Winesap), peeled, cored, halved and thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Seeds scraped from two fresh vanilla pods (or 1 TBS vanilla extract)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Generous pinch salt
Generous pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 sheet thawed prepared puff pastry
Egg wash: 1 yolk mixed with a splash of cold water and a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 4 pats
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking pan with a sheet of parchement paper. Gently unfold the thawed pastry and place on the parchment, pressing with fingertips to gap any holes in the creases or elsewhere. Combine the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg and walnuts in a medium bowl, tossing well with your hands to coat evenly. Arrange in the center of the puff pastry, spreading the filling out to all but the last inch of pastry. This should be left “naked,” as it will puff around the filling to form the edges of the tart. Smooth out the filling with your fingers or a wooden spoon so it is even and about the same thickness all around. Scatter the butter pats on top of the filling, spacing evenly. Prepare the egg wash in a cup and brush the naked edges of the tart lightly with the wash, being careful not to let it slip under the pastry and onto the paper.
Bake in the center rack for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cut and serve with a fat scoop of delicious ice cream. (Note: This tart is also delicious at room temperature or cold).
Makes two tarts, serves 8 to 12
Now that the crisp, cool air of fall and winter is finally upon the Lowcountry, appetites build for satisfying, belly-warming fare. I lit my first official fireplace blaze of the season last night, pondering the crackle and snap of the aged wood, experiencing its final act after a long year’s nap in the wood pile. It set my mind to dreaming about this fabulous tart, which is a wonderful celebration of fall and is perfect for entertaining both for its simplicity and rustic elegance.
It is a free-form savory/sweet tart (a.k.a. galette) and is drenched in the pungent flavors of the Mediterranean. Local honey and fresh lemon juice provide the “sauce” that gently envelops soft Bartlett pears and toothsome walnuts. Bresaoloa – air-dried, salted beef that hails from Italy – gives it beefy depth and chew. It all gets topped off with mild Roquefort cheese and a generous dusting of freshly ground black pepper.
Adapted from Tart Love – Sassy, Savory, and Sweet (Gibbs Smith, October 2011), this tart has no tricks and is definitely a treat. Happy Halloween and happy cooking!
Beefy Pear, Roquefort and Walnut Free-Form Tarts
Equipment Needed: parchment paper, baking sheet
For the pastry:
2 1/2 cups White Lily all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) AA grade unsalted butter, cold, and cut into 1/4″ cubes
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
3 tablespoons ice-cold water, or just enough to hold the pastry together
For the filling:
3 ripe but still firm Bartlett pears, cored and thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
6 slices bresaola (available at most deli counters), coarsely chopped
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup local honey
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Generous dash cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg wash (yolk, pinch salt, splash water blended together
For the topping:
1/2 cup Roquefort or another mild blue cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare the pastry. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic blade, pulse together the flour and the salt until incorporated. Add the butter and pulse, 40 – 50 times, or until the butter is the size of small peas and evenly incorporated throughout the flour. Add the thyme and pulse 5 – 10 times to combine. Gradually, stream in the ice-cold water until the flour just comes together in a slightly messy, crumbly ball. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and quickly form into a 2-inch thick, round disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before rolling out.
In a large bowl, gently toss together all of the filling ingredients, being careful to coat all the fruit and filling completely. Chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface in two 10 -12-inch rounds. Using your rolling pin, ease each pastry round onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Plop the filling into the center of the pastry circle and spread evenly into a circle, until the filling is about 1 inch thick. Trim borders of the pastry circles with kitchen scissors so you have about 2 inches of free pastry space all around the filling. (Note: It does not have to be perfectly symmetrical. You are shooting for a rustic, country look). Use your palm to cup the pastry around the filling, folding in creases about every two inches as you move around the filling. Press gently with the palm of your hand to make sure everything is sealed. Brush the pastry top and sides lightly with the egg wash. Sprinkle the open part of the filling with the cheese and pepper. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
Serve warm or at room temperature as an appetizer, main course, or dessert.