A wonderfully simple yet elegant first course, this bright salad is also great for buffets because the lettuce stays crisp a good, long time.

Chicories Salad with Moscato Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts, and Pomegranate Seeds

At the farmers’ market, the many varieties of winter chicories inspire and delight with beautiful names like Castelfranco, Tardivo, and radicchio rosso di Treviso. In this salad, the bitter lettuces play nice with sweet and herbaceous fennel, peppery arugula, and a sharp vinaigrette. Tip: Slice the fennel at the last moment; it will discolor as it sits.
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs trimmed
  • 21/2 tablespoons Moscato or Moscatel vinegar (or champagne or white balsamic vinegar) 

  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups winter chicories: a mix of endive, curly endive, radicchio, escarole, frisee, or other sturdy, bitter lettuces
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Remove the tough outer layer of each fennel bulb. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the fennel very thinly crosswise.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard into the vinegar until smooth. Whisk in the olive oil, in a steady stream, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicories, arugula, and fennel to a large salad bowl. Dress with the vinaigrette and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper, then sprinkle the salad with the pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts.