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Author Notes: In the middle of winter, when our palettes become saturated with rich, heavy foods, a hefty salad of bitter greens is the ideal antidote. Bitter vegetables like radicchio, the red-leafed bundles that appear in markets in late November, stimulate the digestive system and tone the liver and blood. The outer leaves are the most bitter, while the leaves towards the center are more mild. The addition of creamy feta, chickpeas and an egg yolk dressing cut the bitterness of the radicchio, and and spicy roasted pumpkin adds a touch of sweetness. —Jess Schreibstein
For the salad:
- 1 small pumpkin (or any winter squash, such as cheese pumpkin, butternut, or acorn squash)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 head of radicchio, outer leaves and root removed
- 1 cup cooked or 1 can drained chickpeas
- 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- Seed your pumpkin or squash remove the skin or keep it on if you prefer, then slice into 1 inch-thick crescents. Toss the pumpkin slices in the olive oil and lay them on 1 or 2 baking sheets without any overlap. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and add the red pepper flakes. Roast in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until soft. Remove pumpkin from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, slice the radicchio lengthwise and tear the leaves into strips. Pile the leaves onto 4 plates, and arrange 3 or 4 slices of warm pumpkin on each salad. Divide the chickpeas and feta evenly on the plates and finish with salt, pepper, and the egg yolk dressing (recipe follows).
For the egg yolk dressing:
- 2 egg yolks, preferably from free-range eggs
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Whisk the egg yolks vigorously until scrambled, then continue whisking while slowly pouring in the olive oil. Add the mustard and lemon juice, stir to combine.