It’s happened: winter has descended upon Vancouver. Tonight is our first snow. And not just a whisper of snow. No hard, minuscule bits of freezing rain here; this is the snow of storybooks: fat, gauzy flakes that fall slowly and steadily giving everything a delicate down of winter sparkle. Sadly, it’s unlikely to last the night. Winter in Vancouver is fickle, as the 2010 Olympics proved. So often it is mild and wet, dense and grey, with rain that comes at you from every angle. But then there are winters that make us feel like we’re part of the rest of the country, uniting us with ‘The Great White North’, with sunny, clear, cold days and enough snow to make almost anyone feel like a kid again. They never last the season, but even a week of brightness and glinting snow (even if it turns to blackened, grimy slush) is revitalizing. The local mountains are snow capped and outfitted for world class skiing all winter, but down in the city, the balmy coast keeps things decidedly lush and mostly frost-free. I shouldn’t complain: we get flowers in February, and you don’t have to shovel rain. It is always nice though, a couple times a decade, to have a white Christmas or walk through newly fallen snow and enjoy the insulating hush it gives the city. Snow falling through the glow of a streetlamp? Be still, my silly heart.
Whatever the weather where you are, I hope you enjoy this quick and simple winter salad. It’s easy to make, gives you a burst of freshness on a wintry day and goes beautifully with all things warm, roasted and slow cooked. Stay warm and enjoy!
Spinach and Radicchio Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola
No one really measures salad, so use your common sense when assembling this salad. My general guesstimate is 2 large handfuls of greens per person. Consider this a recipe for 4 people (as a side, not as a main).
enough carefully washed and dried greens for4 people – 3/4 baby spinach, 1/4 sliced radicchio
1 ripe but still firm pear, cored and quartered, each quarter thinly sliced
1/2 C crumbled Gorgonzola or other ripe, pungent cheese
1/4 toasted pumpkin seeds (or pecans, walnuts, etc. – whatever you have on hand to give it some crunch)
Toss the greens together and top with cheese, nuts/seeds and pear slices. Dress at the last moment, or at the table with Apple Sesame Dressing.
Apple Sesame Salad Dressing
Whisk together in a small bowl, or shake together in a glass:
6 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple juice
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt and pepper