escarole with dates and warm hazelnut vinaigrette
Back in early November I received a small postcard alerting me that my Aunt gifted me a subscription to Bon Appetit. You can imagine how excited I was about that. My Aunt has been a subscriber for decades I believe and it was a pretty easy guess for her that I love the magazine as well. We talk about recipes from it and I have even showed up at her house with a dish ripped straight from the pages. I’ve inherited my love and success of cooking from my Aunt, I can remember standing in her kitchen as a young girl watching her make incredible food that everyone gobbled down. She loves cooking for others and being the hostess.
Before I forget, I need to mention that she still cooks with the same stove she bought when I was a young girl. It’s become an inside family joke this stove because there is only one working burner left and you need to be careful when you open the oven door as the hinges aren’t as strong as they once were and the handle is long gone. (I really want her to start a blog called, Incredible Food, One Burner.) She also has quite a small kitchen and no dishwasher! I’ve never heard her complain once and the more the merrier is always her sentiment. Thank you Auntie Karleen for the subscription and the inspiration. I love you!
My subscription started in January and I decided I would cook and photograph at least one recipe from each issue. Have I done that? Yes. Have I blogged about it yet? No. January’s recipe was well….let’s just say I need to pick another recipe and start again. I’m starting with a salad from the February issue. It’s more of an adaption because I used what I had. The recipe called for walnuts and walnut oil, well I wasn’t going to buy walnut oil I had no use for outside of this recipe, and, I had a perfectly good hazelnut oil from making Nutella.
This salad did take a special trip to store for me because escarole isn’t something that I buy on a weekly basis, and not all the stores have it right now. I think spinach would be equally as good, so use that instead if you want to. It’s also rare that I have dried Medjool dates lying around, but I actually did! I also used champagne vinegar instead of red wine because again, that is what I had. I guess I made more substitutions than I thought…. That’s why cooking is fun, you can play around with what you have and still create something that tastes amazing. Since I had a blood orange, I segmented that and tossed on a couple pieces. I’m not sure if I would add it again to this particular salad, but hey, it was my salad to play with.
Escarole with Dates and Warm Hazelnut Vinaigrette
heavily adapted from Bon Appetit
(I played around with the measurements to make this salad for one, but below are the full measurements from the magazine and it serves 4)
1 head of escarole
5 Medjool dates, pitted and diced
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 cup hazelnut oil (extra virgin olive oil will work)
1 shallot, chopped
2 tbs. champagne vinegar (red wine or white wine vinegar will work)
salt and pepper
bacon (optional, I didn’t have any so I left it out)
Wash and dry escarole leaves and tear up. Toast hazelnuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Combine escarole, dates and hazelnuts in a large bowl, set aside.
Saute chopped shallot in hazelnut oil until soft, about 3 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat and add the champagne vinegar, whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper . Slowly pour warm dressing over salad and toss to coat. If you lucky enough to have bacon, toss on it on crumbed.