When it comes to food and the holidays, I have a weakness for tradition. And even though I am the kind of person who will eat anything and everything you put in front of me anytime of day (as long as there is some hope of it being delicious), for the holidays I like to stick with tradition. Because, after all, that’s what the holidays are all about; doing the same rituals year after year after year so that in an ever changing world we at least can rely on turkey on Thanksgiving, prime rib for Christmas and potato latkes for Hannukah. I find comfort in this. For Christmas dinner, which I have made every year for my entire family for the past five years, I always start with a seasonal salad. In my opinion, every elegant holiday meal should start with some hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and conversation, followed by a seasonal salad, a hearty main course and something special for dessert. This spinach and endive salad is the perfect salad for your holiday meal. It’s the ideal combination of this season’s flavors and is so easy it won’t take time away from the the rest of the meal you’ll be perfecting this holiday season.
Spinach, Endive and Pear Salad with Maple Vinnagrette
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 Belgian endives, assorted colors, leaves separated
- 10 oz baby spinach
- 1 Bosc pear, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup crumbled Danish blue cheese, preferably Stilton
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, shallots and maple syrup. Season the dressing to taste with salt and and freshly cracked black pepper. On salad plates, arrange the baby spinach, endive leaves, and pear slices. Sprinkle each salad equally with cranberries and sliced almonds. Using a spoon, drizzle the dressing evenly over each salad and top with crumbled blue cheese.