christmas cavolo nero salad

Cavolo Nero Salad
We’re went to my friend Sienna’s house for a pre-Christmas dinner last night. She also invited Alessio and family, the owners our favorite restaurant, Taverna dei Fori Imperiali. So, as you can imagine, she went all out in the food department. The main course was duck and my duty was to bring the salad.

My new passion when it comes to salad these days is cavolo nero, or Tuscan kale. While I’m a big fan of cavolo nero (we grow tons of it in Todi) it never occurred to me that you could eat it raw. It makes sense though, since cole slaw is nothing more than raw cabbage.

It took my friend Melissa Clark to wake me to it’s wonders. She writes about it in her new book, In the Kitchen With A Good Appetite, and many bloggers, including Heidi Swanson, have spun their own versions of the recipe.

While Melissa’s and Heidi’s salads are garlic-packed, I decided to make mine a softer version. Since Sienna had the whole duck thing going on, I thought something slightly sweet, with a bit of crunch would be just right. I also picked up some beets, and thought the red/green theme would be very Christmasy.
Cavolo Nero Salad

Christmas Cavolo Nero Salad
serves 6

1 large bunch of cavolo nero (about 8 cups, cleaned)
1 small head radicchio
4 medium sized beets
1/4 cup of roasted almonds
1/4 cup chopped raisins
1/3 cup grated ricotta salata (or hard goat cheese if you can’t find ricotta salata)

1/3 cup olive oil
4 Tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
4 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 Tabelspoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
2 tsp dijon mustard

Wash cavolo nero, and remove all the thick stems. Slice the leaves cross-wise, into ribbons about 1/4 inch thick. Wash and slice the radicchio.

Wash beets, trimming off the tops and tails. Wrap them in tin foil and roast at 350F/180C for about an hour- hour and a half, until tender. Take off tin foil, and remove skin. Cut into small cubes.

Chop the roasted almonds and raisins roughly.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together. (I usually just use the immersible blender and the container that came with it.) Taste and adjust for salt. If it seems a bit too sweet, you can add some lemon juice.

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl, add dressing and toss.
Cavolo Nero Salad

Cavolo Nero Salad

Cavolo Nero Salad

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  1. says

    LOVE cavolo nero and beets, so this is a winner for me, thank you! We just had a dish of sauteed three cabbages: Savoy, cavolo nero and the one the British call “sweetheart” or “pointed” cabbage… just in olive oil. Cabbage is queen!

  2. says

    Also a huge fan of cavolo nero. My father in law in Germany was surprised that I made raw salads with it too. I just made one with farro, the flavors are just so good!
    Can’t wait to try your Christmas version.

  3. says

    Elizabeth, what exactly is pomegranate molasses (would that be grenadine syrup?), and where would you look for it around Todi? It sounds like something we would like. Do I spot some pomegranate seeds in your salad too?
    Happy holidays from Betsy and Jacques!

  4. says

    Not sure you can get pomegranate molasses out in the boonies! If you come into Rome, you can pick up a bottle at Selli Intl Food Store on Via dello Statuto (near Piazza Vittoria). It’s really fantastic stuff, and I’m sure you would find lots of uses for it. It’s middle eastern and is cooked down pomegranate juice. Very thick and syrupy.
    No, no pomegranate in this salad, just beets. But I’m sure they would be a good addition.

  5. says

    M husband is not too fond of beetroots so I made my own version today, garnished with chopped walnuts and a sauce made of walnuts, anchovies, garlic , lemon juice and oil. it was utterly delightful, so thanks for the idea.

  6. says

    Made this salad last night for 5 friend, 3 italians included). Everyone was surprised and loved it! (I quite enjoyed it at Christmas.) Came out wonderful !

    (By the way, store bought, pre-cooked beats are just fine for the lazy)!

    Thanks Elizabeth! Steve

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