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Winter Salad with Spiced Maple Vinaigrette

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Serves 4 to 6

  • To learn more, read:
    Making the Grade
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 127

This salad combines favorite cold-weather flavors: maple, warming spices like clove and allspice, earthy root vegetables, and sharp Cheddar. Cabot Clothbound, an English-style Cheddar made in Vermont, is particularly good here.

For the vinaigrette
  • 3 Tbs. grade B pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole allspice berries
  • 1 small whole clove
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
  • 5 oz. (5 packed cups) mesclun salad mix
  • 5 oz. head frisée, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small turnip
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small parsnip
  • 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 4 oz. aged sharp Cheddar, crumbled
Make the vinaigrette

Combine the maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, clove, star anise, ginger, and 1 Tbs. water in a 1-quart saucepan. Simmer on medium-low heat to infuse the flavors and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Whisk in the oil in a slow stream (it won’t emulsify), and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Make the salad

Combine the mesclun and frisée in a large bowl. Peel the turnip, carrot, and parsnip. Using the peeler, shave each into thin ribbons into the bowl. Add the sunflower seeds and half of the cheese. Whisk the vinaigrette to recombine, then toss the salad with enough to coat. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 280, Fat (kcal): 22, Fat Calories (g): 190, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 7, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 16, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 11, Sodium (g): 300, Cholesterol (g): 20, Fiber (g): 3,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Wow! This is really good. I made it exactly as written, including the Cabot clothbound, except that I used radicchio and escarole, and I added pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower and also threw in some dried cranberries. Lovely alternative to my usual salad rut.

We made this without turnip. We were very happy with the delicious combinations. Our kids loved it too!

Suspend disbelief and stick with it. When we tasted the dressing alone, we thought "BLECH". But when the salad was all tossed together, it was pretty good. Unusual. We used Cabot clothbound. Could do without the parsnip.

excellent - I was surprised and pleased with the taste of the raw root vegetables and with the dressing, a great and unusual combination.

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