We are getting a new (to us) green in our box this week. It’s one that’s known and used widely in Italy, but American gardeners are just discovering bianca riccia’s tolerance for cool weather and then hot—like it was in June and is now. Sweet and bitter all in the same mouthful is a wonderful way to enjoy this unique green. Thank you Anna Thomas for the recipe inspiration.
8 ounces dried figs, cut in half
2 cups dry red wine
3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon anise seeds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ teaspoon Real Salt
1 bunch bianca riccia endive, washed and trimmed
¼ red onion, cut into slivers
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
½ cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
In a non-corrosive saucepan mix the wine, 3 tablespoons of the vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the anise seeds. Heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the figs and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the figs to steep in their marinade.
In a bowl, whisk the remaining tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with the olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, and salt. Crush the remaining anise seeds and stir them in. Taste and drizzle in a tablespoon or so of the fig marinade, as desired.
Tear the salad greens into pieces and toss with the slivered red onion. Scatter pieces of the cheese and the walnuts over the top. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss everything together gently. (You will likely not use all of the dressing.)
Arrange on chilled plates or in a large salad bowl. And garnish with the marinated figs, about 4 halves per person.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.