Greens, fruit, and cheese: the perfect combination

Thanksgiving is approaching quickly. As an Italian I would feel quite uncomfortable to give you the recipe for a traditional turkey, duck, or the various turducken combinations with casseroles that ensure American families a sensational Thanksgiving meal. So I will give my little contribution for tasty and light dishes for the days in between the festivities nosh-ups. A choice of two interesting and unusual salads that in a larger portion can be a main course. I read the recipes in my precious collection of Sale & Pepe magazines and I find the combinations delicious: fennel and orange, and radicchio and persimmons.

Fennel & orange: very autumnal with an exotic touch

Use one orange and one fennel for two people, if you want a main course use one orange and one fennel each. Clean the fennel from the external leaves, cut it in quarters and then slice the quarters in thin slices, soak them in a small bowl with cold water where you have squeezed half a lemon for at least half a hour. Pare the orange to the pulp, cut it vertically and then slice the two halves in thick slices. Gently mix orange and fennel and add a teaspoon of fresh ginger root sliver, leave it for half a hour. Dress the salad with salt, black pepper, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil. At the end add a tablespoon of Grana Padano cheese flakes and stir gently.

Radicchio & persimmons: bittersweet color therapy

Ingredients for four people are: four good handful of spring mix, one bunch red radicchio, one small belgian endive, two persimmons, one tbsp of thin sliced onion, half pound soft goat cheese, one tbsp honey (preferably rhododendron or chestnut), two tbsp balsamic vinegar, 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Chop the radicchio and the endive and mix all greens with the onion in a large tray or individual plates. Finely slice persimmons vertically (don’t peel them!) and mix with the salad. In a little pan melt the honey with the balsamic vinegar on low heat (or microwave), add oil, salt and pepper and stir until the dressing is well mixed. Dress the salad mixing very gently, and add the cheese at the end as a top layer.

I suggest to prepare and serve both these salads in trays or large plates rather than bowls (as I wrongly did), and instead of mixing well as we usually do with salads, place ingredients in layers and just very gently “move” them gently. This for two reasons: 1) the juicy and delicate fruit pulp may easily loose its consistency, and 2) the cheese melts and gives a bad appearance to the final result. Enjoy with a light red wine or a robust white.

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