A Winter Salad, with a Side of Ikea


Yes, Ikea. The wonderful world of not so easy to assemble Scandinavian furniture is now influencing my recipes. I confess, I am one of those folks who goes to Ikea to destress, walk around aimlessly looking at rooms and reimagining my home space. I was delighted to find on my most recent trip to Ikea that there was a Swedish grocery section!!! For all of the rugs, bookshelves, and glassware I have willfully declined, they had me here. Lingonberries, smoked fish, boxed Swedish pancake mix, let the shopping spree begin! What I bought, and loved, were these great rye crackers called knäckebröd råg & kli. They come in a large 12 inch round, which drew me in immediately. A giant cracker… I mean come on, how great is that. I have been using them for everything: soups, cheese, an easy snack, and now a salad.

To me salads are an endlessly creative way to make a meal. They are a blank canvass and there is no way to go wrong. If you look at my recipe and say hey, I don’t like feta, ok then replace it with a sharp cheddar. Out of citrus, no big deal, throw some turkey on it. One thing that I always want is crunch. In these days of giant Ikea crackers, I am happily crushing them up and sprinkling them over the tops of my salads.

Salad of Winter Lettuces, Feta, Cara Cara, Pumpkin Seeds, and Olive Vinaigrette

Yields: 1 large salad

1 small head of radicchio, cut into quarters
2 big handfuls of loose-leaf lettuces
1 cara cara orange
¼ cup feta, crumbles
2 tablespoons spiced pumpkin seeds (recipe below)
¼ cup of rye crackers, broken into small pieces (knäckebröd råg & kli)
2 tablespoons olive vinaigrette (recipe below)
pinch kosher salt

To assemble the salad toss 1 quarter of radicchio leaves and 2 big handfuls of loose leaf lettuce together in a bowl. Remove the pith and peel of the orange. Cut in half and then cut into half moon slices. Place lettuces on a plate and top with 6 or 7 slices of cara cara, feta crumbles, pumpkin seeds, olive vinaigrette, rye crackers, and pinch of salt. Add more or less of any ingredient as you prefer and make your own masterpiece!

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Yields: 1 cup

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cumin

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl toss pumpkin seeds, olive oil, salt, coriander, and cumin. Spread on a sheet tray. Bake for 6 min or until a light golden color. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

Olive Vinaigrette

Yields: 1¼ cup

¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup champagne vinaigrette
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar
2½ tablespoons beldi* olives, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

In a bowl mix lemon juice, champagne vinegar, and salt. Slowly whisk on olive oil. Add in za’atar, chopped olives, and parsley and whisk together. Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

* Beldi olives are oil-cured olives from Morocco that have a deep, fruity flavor and meaty texture. If unavailable near you, just substitute with your favorite olive.

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