Escarole and Red Onion Salad
- Servings: 4.
Escarole is more commonly used braised or added to a soup. That's probably because of its somewhat bitter taste, similar to that of an endive, of which it is in fact a variety.
But when dressed with a bright vinaigrette and contrasted with the big personality of red onion, escarole's complex and satisfying flavor becomes the centerpiece of a salad that can stand up to any other tastes at the table.
Make the vinaigrette first and add the onion that's been cut into thin rings to let it marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad and the rest of your dinner. Sitting in the dressing the onion will slightly soften and take on the flavor of the vinegar and mustard.
- 1 large head of escarole
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Begin by peeling and trimming the red onion. Remove the root end and slice the onion into very thin (1/8 - 1/4-inch) slices. Separate the pieces into individual rings.
- Make the vinaigrette in a bowl big enough to also hold all the onion rings. Combine the vinegar with the salt, pepper and mustard, stirring with a fork until the salt dissolves and the mustard is fully mixed into the vinegar. Add the olive oil and mix until the oil and vinegar are emulsified.
- Place the onion rings into the dressing and mix to coat them completely. Let the onions sit while you prepare the rest of the salad. You can also prepare the onions and vinaigrette up to an hour before you're ready to serve the salad which gives the onions time to soften and almost pickle.
- Trim off the base and any damaged outer leaves of the head of escarole. Using a large chef's knife, cut the escarole into 2-inch pieces. Use your fingers to separate the inner pieces and add it all to a salad bowl.
- When ready to serve, spread the onion rings over the top of the escarole and pour any remaining dressing into the salad. Sprinkle with 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.