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Belgian Endive, Celery Root and Pear Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

This rich salad is an excellent beginning to an autumn meal. Select Bosc or Anjou pears that are ripe yet still firm to the touch. Once you have grated the celery root, toss it with the vinaigrette to keep it from turning brown.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 Tbs. sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut oil or vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 5 heads Belgian endive
  • 1 celery root, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 head radicchio, shredded
  • 2 pears
  • 1 lemon, halved

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and the skins have loosened, 5 to 7 minutes. While the hazelnuts are still warm, transfer them to a kitchen towel. Vigorously rub the nuts in the towel to remove the skins; do not worry if small bits remain. Coarsely chop and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the vinegar and shallot. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously until smooth and blended. Season with salt and pepper. Set the vinaigrette aside.

Separate the leaves from the Belgian endive. Cut them lengthwise into long, narrow strips and place in a bowl. Add the celery root, radicchio and all but 2 Tbs. of the vinaigrette. Toss to coat evenly, then divide among 4 chilled individual plates.

Peel, halve and core the pears, leaving the stems intact, if desired. Place each half, flat side down, on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into thin slices, leaving the slices attached at the stem end. Rub the cut surfaces with the lemon halves to prevent browning, then fan each pear half atop a mound of greens. Drizzle evenly with the reserved vinaigrette, sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Vegetarian for All Seasons, by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Time-Life Books, 1998).