Perhaps you will feel a tinge of disappointment seeing the words “winter” in the recipe I am about to extol. But peeps, as long as it is still raining sideways and I am forced to wear my sensible burnt sienna wool coat to work, it is still officially winter, tulips the size of footballs growing around the Capitol notwithstanding.
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So it was, after a long train ride in the driving rain that I longed to put together Lizthechef’s Impromptu Winter Salad. There are still apples at the farmer’s market, and they remain delicious, arugula is there at last and oranges are always at the ready somewhere. And,don’t we all have at least a small nub of ginger in the crisper? No Meyer lemons on hand? Use regular ones.
The recipe begins with the marcona almonds in the pan, which, I am sad to report, I burned, and can be filed under the broad rubric of “expensive ingredients that Jenny has ruined.” I decided to use the rest of the marconas uncooked.
Do not feel put off by the fact that you’ve got a few bowls going for this –- it really is no big deal. Wash up your arugula, mix up your dressing, cut your apples and so forth and mix it all up in under five minutes. Use the best goat cheese you can find, something a little on the hard side. This will make a difference.
The pleasure of this recipe for me is the mix of things I don’t ever think about using together -– apples, walnut oil, orange juice: who knew? My husband and the incipient said they loved the sweetness of it all. (Bacon girl said simply, “I do not eat salad.”) If you're looking for a Passover or Easter last minute dish, this would be swell.
Oh and I could not find any pomegranate seeds. Maybe you will see this as yet another disappointment, a shocking failure to follow the recipe. But maybe the absence of pomegranates in the market should be viewed differently, a promise that spring is really just around the corner, a whisper from the other room, even in the darkness of the rain.
Heat a small, dry skillet and gently toast the almonds until they become light brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a small, deep bowl, whisk together the walnut oil and lemon juice. Whisk in the honey and grated ginger. Set aside.
Cut and core the apple into quarters. Thinly slice the apple (but do not peel it) and place slices in a shallow bowl. Cover the fruit with the orange juice.
Add the arugula to a salad bowl. Crumble the goat cheese into the greens. Add the sliced apple, toasted almonds and pomegranate seeds.
Add the vinaigrette to the salad. Grind black pepper to taste. Toss and serve immediately.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).