Chicory, Orange and Hazelnut Salad (vegan)
This is a lovely light Spring lunch time salad – juicy from the fruit and crunchy from the nuts, with a back note of bitterness from the chicory and tiny sparkles of flavour from the mint. Very refreshing and full of vitamins. If you can’t get chicory, - which is mostly available in shops from January to March - a firm fresh lettuce will do, one of the cos type with strong leaves rather than floppy ones.
The dressing makes a full jar but if you have some left over, it goes well on a straightforward green salad too. It’s worth getting a small bottle of walnut oil if you don’t normally keep it in your salad-oils selection. (we all have one of those, don’t we?) It adds a lovely nutty taste to a French dressing and is high in Omega 3, so has health benefits. My sons don’t eat a lot of nuts, so I think that adding a sploosh to every salad dressing is a good way of getting nut oils into them.
You can eat this as part of a mixed salad table or by itself as a light lunch with some good bread to mop up the juices.
Serves 4 as part of a salad table, timings 20 minutes.
For the dressing:
Roast the hazelnuts by placing them on a tray in the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. This can be done ahead of time, and the roasted hazelnuts kept in an airtight jar for use in salads, cakes, meringues, snacking.
Chop the hazelnuts roughly into smaller pieces but don’t grind them.
Peel the orange and try to remove most of the white pith, cut the fruit into small chunks. Do this over a small bowl to catch the juice, but you aren’t squeezing the orange.
Separate the leaves of the chicory heads and wash, they’re usually pretty clean but wash them anyway and dry.
Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar with a tight lid and shake well. Taste and adjust, you might need to add a bit more salt or a bit more sugar, depending on the sweetness of the juice you used. And you will need to shake well to dissolve the honey through the dressing.
Arrange the chicory leaves on your plate, strew over the orange chunks and then scatter over the hazelnuts. Drizzle the dressing over everything and add some tiny mint leaves for accent.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.