Chicories with creamy Anchovy Dressing and Croutons

This is a classic winter salad. Slightly bitter and mildly sweet chicories pair beautifully with a umami dressing.

The heartiness of the chicory leaves stand up well to the creaminess of the dressing, their combined texture complemented by the crunch of freshly made garlic croutons. This can be served before a cold weather meal but is also substantial enough to be served on it’s own.

For the Croutons
1loaf stale bread
2clove garlic, minced
2 tbspolive oil
For the Dressing
3.5 ozjar anchovies, 1 tbsp chopped, 6 filets set aside, and the remaining chopped
2egg yolks
1eureka lemon
1 cupolive oil
1clove garlic pounded
1 tspred wine vinegar
For the Salad
1head green incised Salanova or other firm leafed salad green like frisee to give structure to your salad
2head mixed chicories (Escarloe inners, treviso, radicchio)
1cup croutons

First, make the croutons. Mince up some garlic and place it in ¼ cup of olive oil. Peel the crust off of your bread with a serrated knife and cut it into 1/2” cubes. Place on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven and toast until golden brown, stirring often. Remove the bread from the oven and toss lightly in the garlicky olive oil. Set aside.

Next, make your dressing. Separate two egg yokes from the whites and place them in a mixing bowl. Whisk the yokes and add a pinch of salt, the pounded garlic, and pounded anchovies. Then whisk in a small squeeze of lemon juice. Now, slowly add the olive oil while whisking vigorously – creating an emulsion where the egg proteins are suspended in the oil. You can also use a bit of oil from the anchovy jar to deepen the anchovy flavor. Once you have added the entire cup of oil, whisk in the chopped anchovies, a squeeze more lemon juice, and the red wine vinegar. Now you will have an anchovy aioli which you can thin into a creamy dressing consistency by adding some water. Once you have achieved the desired consistency, taste, and adjust your seasoning. You can also add some more acid (either lemon juice or vinegar) if desired. Tip: If your emulsion is getting very thick and difficult to stir while adding your oil, you can add a bit of your liquid ingredients before the end.

Finally, make your salad. Prepare the chicories by separating the crispy inner leaves from the tougher outers and tearing or cutting the larger leaves into bite-sized pieces (about 2.5 – 3”). I like to cut the leaves of treviso on an angle while tearing the inner leaves of escarole or Castelfranco. Save the outer leaves for sauteing with garlic and oil. Cut the root from the Salanova leaves away from the root. If using Frisee, shave off the darker green tops and use the white and light green center portions of the plant. The Salanova/ Frisee will help give your salad body. Wash and dry the lettuces.

Place your croutons in a mixing bowl and toss with dressing until coated. Now add the lettuces and toss it all together again with a generous second dose of dressing. Chicories are more hearty and can withstand a thorough massaging, unlike more delicate salad mixes, making them perfect for a creamy dressing. Now transfer your salad to a large plate or bowl, making sure a few croutons are exposed! Cut the 6 anchovy filets in half and place them on top.