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Confession: for years, I didn't like seafood. Period. Once a summer while in Maine, I'd have the requisite bite of lobster as all around me, the rest of my family enthusiastically tore into the bright red crustaceans, cracking claws and tails, prying out the tender sweet flesh and dipping it into ramekins of warm melted butter. I'd swallow my bite as quickly as I could, and then turn with relief to the piece of chicken my mother has roasted just for me. (In general, we weren't allowed special meals growing up, but my parents recognized that this was a true aversion, not just a ploy for attention.)
Lucky for me, cooking school -- and the general process of growing older and more mature -- challenged and expanded my palate. These days, I enjoy many different kinds of fish (although I still don't love clams or mussels) and will gamely try any seafood I haven't yet come across. Anchovies were a bit of a hurdle, and you still won't catch me adding them whole to my pizza, but I've learned to appreciate the briny richness they lend to salad dressings, dips and even stews. I have especially come to enjoy the combination of escarole (part of the bitter greens family, which also took me a while to love) and anchovy. Recently, I discovered that radishes and anchovies are also a great pair, so I decided to combine all three in one salad. You can whip this up in a matter of minutes, and it's a nice, crunchy accompaniment to meat or fish. Or, you can serve it as a simple first course.
Radish and Escarole Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette
- 3 anchovies
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Small bunch radishes
- 1/2 large head escarole
Like this post? Read Merrill's post from last week: Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon-Chili Breadcrumbs
Photos by Jennifer Causey.