Bitter Greens Salad with Orange

There’s always so much food on Thanksgiving that everyone I know complains, including me. Before: there’s going to be too much food. Day of: there’s too much food. Day after: there was too much food. The complaining is a necessary part of the routine IMHO, maybe in a way to forgive ourselves the plenty. And for overeating of course.  But the whole idea of Thanksgiving IS the plenty. Isn’t that symbolic of all the things we are thankful for? Well, I don’t want to get any more philosophical. So I’ll just say I like serving lots of food, even if everyone groans “there’s too much!” and then eats everything and then complains. Call it the Jewish mother in me. But honestly, one thing I find helpful when serving a meal of plenty that includes heavy dishes like stuffing and potatoes and gravy and vegetables with crusts or sauces, is to have a salad too. Not just as an extra, another side dish to put on the table, but because salad ingredients, especially if they have robust greens (arugula, endive, radicchio, watercress and so on) and acidic dressings (vinaigrette as opposed to Ranch or thick sour cream dressings) help balance and lighten up the meal.  Here’s a salad made with three kinds of hardy greens, cut with chunks of orange, a little crunch of nuts (you can leave these out if you wish) and a light citrusy dressing. It’s pretty too, adding a bit of color to the meal. Bitter Greens Salad with Orange  3 navel oranges 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 3 large Belgian endives 1 bunch watercress 1 small head radicchio salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 3-4 tablespoons toasted pignoli nuts, optional Grate enough of the peel of one orange to equal one teaspoon. Place in a bowl and add the white wine vinegar, olive oil and mustard. Halve the orange that has been grated and squeeze the juice from one of the halves into the bowl. Mix to blend the ingredients completely and set aside. Reserve the other half of the orange for other purposes. Peel the remaining two oranges and remove all the white pith that surrounds the segments. Cut the orange flesh into thick slices, then cut the slices into chunks and set aside. Wash and dry the endive leaves and cut them in half. Place the endive in a bowl. Wash and dry the watercress, discard any thick stems and add to the bowl with the endive. Wash and dry the radicchio leaves, cut them if they are large, and add them to the bowl and toss the greens. Pour the dressing over the leaves and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the nuts over the salad if desired. Makes 8 servings  

There’s always so much food on Thanksgiving that everyone I know complains, including me.

Before: there’s going to be too much food. Day of: there’s too much food. Day after: there was too much food.

The complaining is a necessary part of the routine IMHO, maybe in a way to forgive ourselves the plenty. And for overeating of course. 

But the whole idea of Thanksgiving IS the plenty. Isn’t that symbolic of all the things we are thankful for?

Well, I don’t want to get any more philosophical. So I’ll just say I like serving lots of food, even if everyone groans “there’s too much!” and then eats everything and then complains. Call it the Jewish mother in me.

But honestly, one thing I find helpful when serving a meal of plenty that includes heavy dishes like stuffing and potatoes and gravy and vegetables with crusts or sauces, is to have a salad too. Not just as an extra, another side dish to put on the table, but because salad ingredients, especially if they have robust greens (arugula, endive, radicchio, watercress and so on) and acidic dressings (vinaigrette as opposed to Ranch or thick sour cream dressings) help balance and lighten up the meal. 

Here’s a salad made with three kinds of hardy greens, cut with chunks of orange, a little crunch of nuts (you can leave these out if you wish) and a light citrusy dressing. It’s pretty too, adding a bit of color to the meal.

Bitter Greens Salad with Orange 

3 navel oranges

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 large Belgian endives

1 bunch watercress

1 small head radicchio

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3-4 tablespoons toasted pignoli nuts, optional


Grate enough of the peel of one orange to equal one teaspoon. Place in a bowl and add the white wine vinegar, olive oil and mustard. Halve the orange that has been grated and squeeze the juice from one of the halves into the bowl. Mix to blend the ingredients completely and set aside. Reserve the other half of the orange for other purposes. Peel the remaining two oranges and remove all the white pith that surrounds the segments. Cut the orange flesh into thick slices, then cut the slices into chunks and set aside. Wash and dry the endive leaves and cut them in half. Place the endive in a bowl. Wash and dry the watercress, discard any thick stems and add to the bowl with the endive. Wash and dry the radicchio leaves, cut them if they are large, and add them to the bowl and toss the greens. Pour the dressing over the leaves and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the nuts over the salad if desired. Makes 8 servings