There’s something about a white salad that’s surprising and refreshing, both to eat and to look at on the plate. One of the first I ever tasted was made by Mark Bittman; he shaved raw artichokes, which we both adore, using a mandoline and then paired them with Parmesan and a lemon–olive oil dressing (a version of which is included here. Nothing more. I was taken by the idea of other similar such salads—hues of crunchy cream and white vegetables tangled up on a plate. I started adding thinly sliced celery to the artichokes, for a barely-there hint of green. Then artichoke season was over and I had to find other vegetables to fill their slot. Endive, apples, and fennel all seemed to make sense. I make this salad mostly in the fall, when the fennel and apples are abundant. But I’ve also found myself without apples or fennel and used chopped cauliflower instead—it’s a different texture completely, but when it’s chopped very finely or shaved, it offers up a delightful crunch in contrast to the tender endive. Finished with nutty curls of Parmesan, this white salad complements a pizza perfectly.

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Ingredients

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head endive, very thinly sliced into ribbons
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on an angle
  • ½ bulb fennel, trimmed and very thinly sliced, fronds reserved
  • ½ Granny Smith or other firm, tart apple, very thinly sliced
  • A chunk of Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method

In a small lidded jar or bottle, combine the shallot, oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Seal and shake well to emulsify. Taste and adjust the oil, acid, or salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the endive, celery, fennel, and apple. Drizzle with a bit of the dressing, toss to coat, and taste. Add more dressing if needed.

To serve, shave wide curls of Parmesan over the salad if desired and garnish with fennel fronds.

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