R691 Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon and Dumpling Croutons

Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon, and Dumpling Croutons

There are skills in the kitchen that I'm pretty good at (like tossing things in a frying pan or cutting veggies neatly), but of course, there are also a few things I don't necessarily score high on. At the top of that list is estimating quantities realistically. Maybe it's in my genes because my grandmother usually cooks enough for a whole village, even though there are only six of us at the table. Principally, there's nothing wrong with that because it's better to have too much food than not to have enough of it, isn't it? The leftovers can often be used the next day, which ends up in a vicious circle for me, though. Let's assume that I cooked too much rice. It will be fried the next day, but I also add so many vegetables that I can't eat all of them. So now I have vegetable fried rice leftovers, which then also have to be consumed the following day. So the next day, I add a sauce to the dish, and - you can guess it - it's way too much. I'll stop my execution at this point because you already got the point.

Still, there is one thing I prepare too much of on purpose because I'm already looking forward to the leftover meal the next day: it's dumplings! The leftover ones can be pan-fried and eaten with the remaining red cabbage, vegan goulash, or whatever you served it with. But this is really not a recipe that I have to write down here - and yet we wanted to give you a recipe for the leftover dumplings as the big finale of our theme week.

The result is a winter salad with dumpling croutons, which is certainly a pleasantly fresh change from the hearty dishes that you've eaten the days before. You can make this recipe with any pre-cooked dumplings. All you have to do is chop them up and coat them with breadcrumbs. Basically, these are deconstructed butter crumbs, which are perfect for sprinkling on dumplings. We just toss to coat the dumpling chunks directly in the breadcrumbs. If they don't stick, just moisten he dumplings with some water. Then fry them until they become a little crispy on the outside.

For the salad, you can use any vegetables and fruits which are in season. Now in December, you could use apples, kale, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, beet, savoy cabbage, endive, or radicchio, to name a few. I chose chicory this time, which I usually never eat because it's too bitter for me. However, in contrast with the pear, persimmon, and caramelized walnuts, I actually really liked it. The vinaigrette is a simple shallot vinaigrette that you can mix in a bowl. Alternatively, you just pour all the ingredients into a jar and shake it vigorously. You can substitute the walnuts with any other nut - if you're not comfortable with caramelizing , you can also toast the nuts briefly in a grease-free pan.

And now we're rolling happily onto the sofa - what a theme week that was!

R691 Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon and Dumpling Croutons

Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon, and Dumpling Croutons

4 servings
45 minutes

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 150 g (5.5 oz) lamb's lettuce
  • 1 chicory
  • 1 persimmon
  • 1 pear
  • black cumin seeds for serving

For the caramelized walnuts:

  • 50 g (0.25 cup) sugar
  • 50 g (0.25 cup) water
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) walnuts

For the shallot vinaigrette:

  • 2 shallots
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dark balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or agave syrup or sugar)
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper

For the dumpling croutons:

  • 6 leftover dumplings
  • approx. 100 g (0.75 cup) breadcrumbs
  • vegan butter for frying

Instructions

  1. For the salad, clean the lamb's lettuce. Half chicory, then cut it into thin strips, dice persimmon and pear. Arrange all the chopped ingredients directly on serving plates or a large salad platter.

  2. Peel and finely dice the shallots. Add them to a mason jar along with olive oil, dark balsamic vinegar, grainy mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Shake vigorously until everything is combined. Season the vinaigrette to taste, and add some water if you want the vinaigrette to be a little thinner.

  3. For the caramelized walnuts, heat sugar and water in a frying pan until the sugar melts. Add walnuts to the pan and, while stirring, heat them until they're coated with the sugar mixture and caramelize. This may take a good 10 minutes – the nuts often turn matte and dull at first and then become shiny again. Carefully transfer the caramelized nuts onto parchment paper (watch out, they are hot!), let them cool down, and roughly chop them.

  4. Cut the leftover dumplings into quarters or bite-sized pieces, then toss them in breadcrumbs. If the dumplings are too dry, damp them with a bit of water beforehand. Next, heat vegan butter in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the breaded dumplings until browned.

  5. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and mix everything just before serving. Arrange the dumpling croutons and caramelized walnuts on top and sprinkle the salad with black cumin seeds.

R691 Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon and Dumpling Croutons
R691 Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon and Dumpling Croutons
R691 Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon and Dumpling Croutons
R691 Chicory and Lamb's Lettuce Salad with Pear, Persimmon and Dumpling Croutons

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