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Dinner Tonight: Carrot and Radicchio Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

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I can almost always come up with at least five reasons not to do something. “It’s too cold out” is my most recent go-to. It seems to work for everything from waking up early, to not taking the subway, to exercising—things I'll be more than happy to do, I tell myself, when it's not February.

Not to sound like a Nike ad, but when I actually just do whatever it is I've created an iron-clad case against doing, I’m happier for it. In that spirit, and because making lists of things is always fun, I’m going to give you five reasons to make this salad tonight, in the hopes that you (and I) will find some way to just do it:

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Carrot and Radicchio Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Carrot and Radicchio Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

1. It is delicious.

As Kenzi, who brought us this recipe from Eli and Max Sussman, notes, there are no filler ingredients here. From bitter radicchio to sweet figs to sharp shallots to earthy carrots, every component adds something, so every bite is a good one.

2. It is fast.

Half an hour stands between you and dinner. What say you, Seamless?

3. You will learn a new technique.

Using a pared-down version of steam-roasting carrots (shout-out to Kenzi for that one, too!), the combination of oil and water is actually a good one here, softening, caramelizing, and crisping your carrots all in one go.

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4. It is adaptable.

Commenter Nat Power used roasted macadamias, dates, avocado, haloumi, and brown rice. That’s practically a whole different dish, but illustrates how open this salad is to other flavors and more bulk, depending on what you've got handy.

5. It is pretty.

And therefore even more impressive.

Grocery List
(organized by area of the market)

2 pounds multi-colored carrots
1 medium to large head radicchio
1/2 cup diced fresh figs (or 2 large dried figs)
1/2 cup pistachios

We’re going to assume you already have extra-virgin olive oil, a shallot, and balsamic vinegar, but if not, add those to the list!

Overview

About 30 minutes before dinner, peel and halve your carrots, then toss the carrots with olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Spread on a baking sheet, then pour 1/4 cup of water over the top. Roast until the carrots have just started to brown and crisp on the edges, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the pistachios, whisk together your vinaigrette ingredients (oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped dates, a bit of water, and shallot). Core and roughly chop radicchio, placing half the leaves in a large bowl. When the carrots are nearly done, flash-cook the reserved radicchio leaves until wilted, then combine with raw radicchio, carrots, pistachios, and the dressing, tossing it all together. You did it!

To see the full version of this recipe, click here.

Tags: radicchio, carrots