Chicory Salad with Grilled Pear

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The bitter lettuces in this chicory salad are balanced by the sweetness of lightly grilled pear and tossed in a date and shallot vinaigrette.

This post is sponsored by OXO and California Olive Ranch. All opinions are my own.

lettuces for chicory salad and olive oil being poured into a salad dressing shaker for date shallot viniagrette

It may seem counterintuitive, but winter is one of my favorite times to eat salads. Hear me out.

Chicory salad with grilled pear wedges, blue cheese and hazelnuts on a platter

First of all, a light, crisp salad is the perfect thing to balance out all the heavy, rich comfort foods we tend to enjoy in the colder months. Also, I love how a colorful salad can brighten up any winter table. And let us not forget that winter is lettuces’ time to shine. Have you been to the farmers market lately and seen all the beautiful green and magenta leafy vegetables that are in abundance right now?

a detail of red and green chicories and grilled pear wedges

Among my favorite winter lettuces are chicories, with their vibrant colors and unique bitter flavors that pair so well with sweeter elements in a salad. I partnered with OXO and California Olive Ranch to show you how easy it is to make this stunning winter Chicory Salad with Grilled Pear using OXO‘s handy kitchen tools and a lovely date-shallot vinaigrette made with California Olive Ranch Destination Series extra virgin olive oil.

ingredients for chicory salad with grilled pears on a cutting board

What are chicories?

Let’s back it up for a second and talk about chicories, in case you’re not familiar. Chicories are closely related to lettuces, but tend to be heartier, crunchier and have a bitter taste. They begin to come into season in late fall, but really hit their stride in the winter. Examples of chicories include endive, escarole, radicchio and treviso.

You can find some absolutely stunning varieties at your local farmers market in the wintertime. Just make sure to give them a really good rinse to get all the dirt off. I find that using my OXO Salad Spinner is the most effective way to clean my market lettuces thoroughly. And giving them a good spin removes excess water easily, which keeps the leaves from turning soggy.

chicory lettuces in a salad spinner

How to make this chicory salad with grilled pear

The first thing we’ll need to do to make this chicory salad is grill the pear wedges so that they have a chance to cool down while we prepare the rest of the salad and make the vinaigrette. I like to use an indoor grill pan for this, because who wants to grill outside in the winter?

grilled pear wedges on a cutting board

While the pear wedges are cooling, we’ll gather our other ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • chicory- any variety you want to use is fine. I used a combination of radicchio, endive and added some little gem to the mix for a pop of green. Because I found smaller varieties at the market, I chose to leave the tender leaves whole, but feel free to tear the leaves into smaller pieces if yours are larger
  • hazelnuts- toasting them quickly in a skillet brings out their flavor
  • blue cheese- since we’re only using a little bit of cheese here, we want to make it count, so I like to splurge and use a really good quality one like Pt. Reyes Blue or a creamy gorgonzola dolce
  • dates- we’re going to be using date syrup in the vinaigrette, so having dates in the salad is a nice echo and adds a little more sweetness to contrast the bitterness of the chicories
chicory salad on a platter with a bottle of olive oil next to it

How to make date shallot vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette, it’s important to use a good quality olive oil since you will absolutely be able to taste it in the finished product. California Olive Ranch has partnered with expert olive farmers across the globe who have a like-minded focus on quality and are producing incredible extra virgin olive oils for their Destination Series, a blend of only the highest-quality extra virgin olive oil from California and around the world. I used their Everyday extra virgin olive oil as the foundation for the date-shallot vinaigrette, along with finely minced shallot, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and date syrup, one of my new favorite natural sweeteners.

chicory salad on a plate with olive oil and salad dressing shaker in the background

You can find date syrup online, but if you don’t want to purchase this, maple syrup would do just fine as a substitution. Another option is to chop up 1-2 dates very finely and whisk them into the vinaigrette.

olive oil being poured into a salad shaker

To make the vinaigrette simply combine all the ingredients in a shaker like the OXO Salad Dressing Shaker and shake to combine.

shaking date-shallot vinaigrette in a shaker

The OXO Salad Dressing Shaker is great because it has measurements printed right on the container, making it easy to measure out your ingredients directly into the vessel.

date shallot vinaigrette in a shaker

How far in advance can I make this Chicory Salad with Grilled Pear?

The nice thing about chicories is that they are usually quite hearty, meaning this salad will hold up nicely for a couple of days in the fridge undressed. After mixing your vinaigrette you can keep it stored in the OXO Salad Dressing Shaker and dress the salad just before serving. The date and shallot vinaigrette will keep for at least a week this way, so you can use any leftover vinaigrette for future salads.

Chicory Salad with Grilled Pear

The bitter lettuces in this chicory salad are balanced by the sweetness of lightly grilled pear and tossed in a date and shallot vinaigrette.

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword dates, grilled pear, pears, vegetarian, vegetarian dinner ideas
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 large firm red pear sliced lengthwise into 8 wedges
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 large or 2 small heads radicchio leaves torn
  • 2 heads red endive leaves torn
  • 1 small head escarole or little gem leaves torn
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup gorgonzola crumbled
  • 1/4 cup dates chopped

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 tablespoons date syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pear wedges with vegetable oil and grill until lightly charred on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside to cool.
  2. Rinse and dry the radicchio, endive and little gem lettuce leaves in a Salad Spinner. Add to a large bowl along with most of the hazelnuts, gorgonzola and dates (reserve some for topping the salad). Toss gently.
  3. In a salad dressing shaker add vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, date syrup, oil, salt and pepper. Cover and shake to combine ingredients.
  4. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss once more. Top with remaining hazelnuts, gorgonzola and dates. Add grilled pear wedges.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OXO and California Olive Ranch.

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