Mandarin, Endive & Watercress Salad

This seasonal salad offers a beautiful presentation of both color and taste. The sweetness of the honey and oranges contrast beautifully with the bitter endive and peppery watercress. As an appetizer in itself, the savory goat cheese crostini lends unique texture and creaminess to the heart of the salad.

Ingredients


For the Honey Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing:

5 to 6 freshly squeezed mandarin oranges to yield ¾ cup juice
½ teaspoon minced garlic or 1 fresh clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon, freshly squeezed to yield 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

For the Honey Goat Cheese Crostini:

½ baguette, sliced in ½-inch thick rounds
3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces garlic goat cheese, sliced into ¼-inch-thick medallions
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons honey

To Assemble the Salad:

3 heads endive
2 bunches fresh watercress, about 2 cups
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup pecan halves
4 to 6 fresh mandarin oranges, peeled and segments
5 ounces pomegranate arils

Method


To Prepare the Honey Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing:

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mandarin orange juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and molasses. Season with salt and pepper; whisk until well combined. Add the olive oil, honey and vinegar to the mixture. Continue to whisk until blended into an emulsion. Set aside.

To Make the Honey Goat Cheese Crostini:

Preheat the oven to broil. Lay the baguette slices on a parchment-lined, half-sheet baking pan. Spread a light layer of butter on top of each slice. Place the bread under the broiler until golden brown and lightly crisped. Remove from the oven and let cool. Leaving the bread on the sheet pan, place one garlic goat cheese medallion on top of each crisped baguette slice. Place the pan back under the broiler until the goat cheese is lightly golden and slightly melted around the edges. Remove from oven. Top with freshly cracked black pepper to taste and a zigzagging drizzle of honey. Set aside.

To Assemble the Salad:

Separate the leaves from the endive heads carefully as to retain their scooping shape without tearing. On each serving plate, lay 5 endive leaves, hollow-side up, to create a star shape. Chop the roots from the ends of the watercress. Wash the cress thoroughly in cold water to remove any sediment on the leaves. In a clean kitchen towel, pat the excess water off the leaves. In a mixing bowl, toss together prepared watercress, red onion slices, pecan halves, mandarin orange segments, and pomegranate arils with a light coating of vinaigrette. When ready to serve, arrange watercress salad in the center of each endive star. Drizzle whole salad with additional vinaigrette, allowing the endive to cradle some of the dressing. For garnish, place a goat cheese crostini in the center on top of each salad. Serve immediately. Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe Created and Stylized by R. Shannon Mock and Brontë E. Mock

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