real life test kitchen: heart of winter salad

valentines salad

This is the type of thing you should serve your sweetheart: instead of being filled with empty calories and saturated fat (I’m looking at you chocolate), this salad is filled with fiber, antioxidants, and yes, the secret ingredient of love. In addition to being visually appealing for Valentine’s dining, it’s a dish designed to help enhance romance! Fennel, beets, and honey are all reported to have an aphrodisiac effect, as well as tasting pretty darn delicious together. The earthiness of the beets and licorice-tinged crunch of the fennel are rounded out by tangy, jewel-like red and pink oranges and slightly bitter Belgian endive; while the crumbled goat cheese adds a creaminess that’s downright sexy. So bust out the champagne, the romantic music, and snuggle down in front of the fire with a big plate of salad! — Megan B.

heart of winter salad
serves 2-4 people

1 large bulb of fennel, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 small head of red or white belgian endive (or radicchio), separated into leaves and cut in half
1 cara cara or blood orange, cut into half-moons or segments
1 beet, roasted and peeled, sliced thinly
1 oz. crumbled goat cheese
white balsamic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
salt and pepper to taste
Arrange veggies and oranges on a shallow platter, season with salt and pepper, and top with goat cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette right before serving.

for the vinaigrette:
1 tbs white balsamic vinegar*
1 tsp honey
2 tbs grapeseed or salad oil
Pour the honey and vinegar into a small jar to which you have the lid, and swirl to combine. Pour in oil, close the lid, and shake vigorously to emulsify. Can be made ahead and stored in the fridge, just remember to shake well before dressing the salad.

*If you need to substitute the white balsamic, use an equivalent amount of either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar rather than traditional balsamic. The vinaigrette should be as colorless as possible.

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