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Belgian Endive, Pomegranate and Orange Salad

Insalata Ennese

SERVES 4

Looking at the surrounding pristine countryside of Sicily from the belvedere in Enna gives one a sense of why this city was envied for its invincible location high atop a mountain perch. On Enna's street corners are peddlers with cartfuls of broccolo (cauliflower) for purchase. Long as a baseball bat, zucchine lunge (long zucchini) is available too, as are creamy white, tight heads of Belgian endive.

The Ennese make a wonderful salad using endive, pomegranate seeds, and blood orange segments. The pomegranates and oranges are very refreshing with a sweet-tart flavor. Since pomegranates are not available year-round, I buy them in season, extract the seeds, and freeze them. That way I can enjoy the salad all year long; it is particularly attractive at Christmastime. If you cannot find blood oranges, use navel oranges instead.

Ingredients

1/2 pound (about 4 small) Belgian endive, washed

1 rib celery, washed and cut into thin slices

6 Cerigonola olives in brine, pitted and cut into slices

2 blood or navel oranges, peeled and cut into segments

1 tablespoon capers in salt, rinsed and diced (optional)

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

DRESSING

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

Cut the endive in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half and separate the leaves from the stem. Place the leaves in a salad bowl and add the celery, olives, oranges, and capers (if used).

To prepare the dressing, in a bowl whisk the lemon juice, salt, and sugar together. Slowly pour the olive oil into the lemon mixture, whisking until the mixture thickens a bit and is smooth.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Sprinkle on the pomegranate seeds and serve.

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