This salad is made of sweet, roasted carrots, and pleasantly bitter dreads of radicchio to whip that sweetness into shape. It’s got a man-sized handful of pistachios. And when you eat it, there is no pushing aside of filler ingredients to get to more consequential ones; you could stab recklessly into this thing, blindfolded, and still get a perfect bite. How many other salads would you want to eat with your eyes closed?
Adapted from Eli and Max Sussman's Classic Recipes for Modern People (Olive Press, 2015) —Kenzi Wilbur
4 to 6
pistachios, toasted, roughly chopped
plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
small shallot, minced
diced fresh figs, or 2 large dried figs (see note in step 2)
Heat the oven to 375° F. Set the pistachios in a heavy, dry pan on the stovetop over low heat to toast. Toast, shaking the pan from time to time, until they smell nutty and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes.
Make the dressing: Whisk together a half cup of the olive oil, the shallot, vinegar, figs, 2 tablespoons water, and a small pinch of salt.
Note: If you can't find fresh figs, blend 2 dried, de-stemmed figs with the water, salt, and vinegar, then slowly stream in the olive oil with the blender running. Whisk in the shallot separately.
Toss the carrots with 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large bowl, season with a large pinch of salt, and spread out on a baking sheet in one layer. 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.
Core and roughly chop the radicchio, and place half the leaves in a large bowl.
When the carrots are close to done, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining radicchio, and flash-cook until it wilts and begins to brown in places. Transfer to the bowl with the raw radicchio.
Add the carrots to the salad bowl, drizzle with a bit of dressing (you will not use it all, so start slow), and toss very gently to keep the carrots intact. Add the pistachios, toss, and taste and adjust for dressing and salt. Serve.
I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.