Eating with the seasons has this magic feeling to me –my imagination is boosted to greater heights with every dish. I am deeply convinced that nature knows best, and all I can do is second it. Saying that colours signal specific health benefits, and that nature gives us certain foods in a specific season to meet our bodies’ needs is nothing new. However, it is an often forgotten or neglected principle. An easier way to remember could be by means of colour coding: eating with the seasons often means eating with colours. For this reason, the colour of this salad is unforgettably bound to the colour of winter.
Red or purple cabbage, radicchio, beets. All in that range of colours, all staining everything they touch – your hands, cutting board and immaculate kitchen towel. Together, they form an elegant palette that matches perfectly with some purple-gray sage leaves, some dark green pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, and a touch of white pecorino cheese. They make for a salad that has what every salad should have: freshness, crunch, toasty and salty notes, and a little bit of sweet and sour.
Red Radicchio Salad w/ Pecorino & Pumpkin Seeds
1 small red cabbage, rinsed and very thinly sliced
1 small head of radicchio, rinsed and very thinly sliced
2 roasted beets*, cut in slices
8 small pickled onions, chopped (I used roasted onions pickled in balsamic vinegar) OR
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp cassis mustard (or grainy dijon mustard)
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1 tbsp organic lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
4 purple (or green) sage leaves
50 g/ 1/4 cup grated good pecorino cheese
In a big salad bowl, combine sliced cabbage, radicchio, beets and chopped onion(s).
Place a small skillet over medium heat and toast pepitas for a couple of minutes, moving them around every few seconds. Prepare the vinaigrette whisking together mustard, salt, vinegar, lemon juice and finally oil, until combined.
Pour vinaigrette in the salad bowl, stir in pepitas and toss to combine. Brake sage leaves with your hands and sprinkle on top of the salad, and finish with grated pecorino cheese. Toss again to combine with the rest of ingredients.
* I only found roasted beets at the store, but if you have the chance to buy fresh ones, you can roast them in the oven at 180C/350F for 30 minutes after brushing their skin clean. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let cool a bit, then remove the skin and cut into slices or quarters.