Sunday, December 27, 2020

Warm Escarole and Parsnip Salad with Walnuts and Gorgonzola


Living on the northern coast of California means mild winters, but lately it's been changing. Frost! Temperatures below 40 degrees! I know, we are spoiled, but it is a shock to the system. As someone who loves salads, this is when I start to think about parsnips!

Yes, parsnips! I was the kid who wouldn’t eat spaghetti but eagerly awaited parsnip season. If you think they are boring, allow me to tempt you with this fun winter dish of pan fried escarole, sweet and creamy parsnips, and a tangy sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Fun garnishes are what make salads special, so there are a few bites of gorgonzola and walnut pieces tossed in there as well. Yum!

If you have yet to pan fry your bitter greens, get that cast iron pan heating! Basically an indoor version of grilling, warm salads are so wonderful in the colder seasons. 

Warm Escarole and Parsnip Salad with Walnuts and Gorgonzola


1 small clove garlic, minced

Pinch salt

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4cup olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Black pepper


½ head escarole per diner - cut heads in half through the core

½ parsnip per diner, peeled cut into coins ¼ inch thick

1 teaspoon minced red onion per diner

Good pinch chopped walnuts

Gorgonzola to taste

Olive oil for frying

Heat a large frying pan (cast iron if possible) over medium heat for several minutes. Add a film of oil to coat the bottom of the pan and lay parsnips in a single layer, cooking on each side 5-7 minutes until browned. While parsnips are browning, mix salt and garlic in a small bowl and whisk in vinegar, Dijon mustard and oil until well blended. Once parsnips are cooked, set aside and add a film of oil to just cover the bottom. Place cut sides of escarole in hot oiled pan and weigh with another pan or hot water kettle, pressing down. You should hear sizzling sounds. Cook escarole for 4-5 minutes, checking to see that it is browning well and leaves are wilting. Once the center core is softened but not wilted, remove from pan, turn off heat and roughly chop escarole. To serve, arrange parsnips on top of escarole, scatter onions, walnuts and gorgonzola and drizzle dressing over all with pepper to taste.


No comments: