Winter Salad of Belgian Endive, Apples, Celery & Golden Raisins

        From the blog For Love of the Table

For the vinaigrette:

2 T. Champagne vinegar

1 small shallot, peeled and finely minced (1 1/2 to 2 T.)

1/4 t. salt, or to taste

1 t. Dijon mustard

6 T. extra-virgin olive oil


For the salad:

4 stalks of celery (about 7 oz. before trimming)

2 large Granny Smith apples (14 oz.)

4 heads Belgian endive (about 1 lb.)

1/2 c. (3 oz.) golden raisins

Lemon juice, optional/to taste


Make the vinaigrette:  Place the vinegar in a small bowl with the shallots and salt.  Set aside for five minutes or so to let the shallots soften a bit. Add the mustard and whisk until smooth. While whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a thin stream to form a slightly thickened, emulsified dressing.  Taste and correct the seasoning with salt.  Set aside.


To make the salad, trim the ends away from the celery stalks.  Using a vegetable peeler, remove any obtrusive strings from the outside of the ribs.  Cut the stalks into 3 or 4 lengths.  Slice each thinly to make a rough julienne of celery.


Wash the apples. Halve each lengthwise and remove the cores.  Using a mandolin slicer, slice each half thinly, lengthwise. 


Remove any bruised outer leaves of the endive and discard.  Halve the endive and remove the cores (by cutting a "v" shape around the core on each half with the tip of a paring knife).  Place each half face down on a cutting board and slice 1/3-inch thick on a long diagonal. 


Place the celery, apples, endive and raisins in a large bowl.  Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette (start with about 1/3 will probably need almost all of the vinaigrette, but it is better to start with less) and season well with salt and pepper.  Carefully toss so that all of the ingredients are lightly coated with the vinaigrette.  Add more vinaigrette as needed.  Taste and correct the seasoning.  If the salad seems well-seasoned and well-dressed, but still tastes a bit flat, give it a squeeze of lemon and toss again.  It should taste lively and juicy.  Mound the salad on a platter or divide among individual salad plates.  Serves 6 to 8 as a first course or a side salad.


Note:  The celery may be cut ahead.  The apples and endive must be cut right before serving as they will both oxidize after being cut.