As I harvested vegetables this week on the farm I was reflecting on the beautiful salad vegetables that we were picking for this week’s bitter salad mix. Winter is the time when the most cold tolerant of our greens, the endives and chicories, are at their best. Frisée and scarole continue to produce beautiful large heads of intricately curled leaves, when the growth of most other plants has virtually slowed to nothing. The cold also intensifies the deep burgundy of the radicchio leaves. Mixed through a salad, these leaves are a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
We have been making a bitter green salad mix for several years at Bathgate Farm. During this time salad mixes have become increasingly popular with customers. Many people were wary of our salad called “Bitter green salad mix”, but there has been an increased awareness of what bitter greens are, and what delightful salads can be made with the combination of sweet, bitter, salty and sour flavours. We have not followed the trend of using baby leaves in our salad, as the best leaves from the bitter greens are the blanched hearts of the mature heads. We also want to encourage people to eat big gutsy salads.
Now is the time during winter when we have had our fill of heavy, substantial , winter fare. The components for some invigorating fresh salads are all coming into season: navel oranges,avocados, red onions, fennel, lettuces, radicchio, rocket, frisée and scarole.
Where to find our Bitter Green Salad
Albany Farmers Market, Mount Melville Fresh Organic Produce and The Source, Denmark. We also supply 14 Peel Place (“where Meals and Memories are made”).
Bitter Green Salad with Pear and Walnut
This is a salad we regularly return to:
Fill a shallow bowl with salad leaves- if available use a mix of bitter greens (endives and radicchio), rocket and cos lettuce, broken into suitable sized pieces. Scatter over thin slices of slightly under ripe pear and red onion and walnuts. Dress the salad with a vinaigrette of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt flakes and black pepper.
By Jocelyn Bathgate