I call this salad White on White, but it is definitely more like the proverbial little black dress of the fashion world. Just like the little black dress can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, this salad is extremely versatile as well. It makes an elegant first course but can also be served along side a sandwich or bowl of soup. I paired it one evening not long ago with a simple pita pizza (recipe to come!) and it brought rave reviews from my husband.
I got the idea for this wonderful salad from a blog that I enjoy reading, Not Without Salt. I thought it was such an intriguing and beautiful presentation, however when I went to several grocery stores and couldn’t find celeriac and/or fennel, I decided to change it up a bit and use easier to find ingredients. I kept the apple and leek from the original recipe but traded the fennel and celeriac for jicama and a bit of fresh pineapple which can be found at most local grocery stores.
I took a bit more liberty with the dressing. Since the jicama doesn’t have as much flavor as the fennel/celeriac combination, I added a little honey and fresh ginger instead. Golden raisins and caramelized pine nuts combine nicely with the other ingredients to make a winning salad.
The dressing calls for créme fraiche which can be obnoxiously expensive and often difficult to find so I was thrilled with her quick, easy method of making homemade créme fraiche. I know it is not as authentic as the traditional method, which can take anywhere from 24-48 hours, but it is delicious and it works!
Give this salad a try, you won’t be disappointed!!
P.S. I have always wanted a mandolin but thought that I would have to invest an arm and a leg for a decent one. About a year ago, after reading a number of reviews, I purchased this one from Amazon. It was relatively inexpensive, works like a charm and has a great Food Safety Holder which eliminates accidents from the sharp blades. I find myself using this tool frequently and makes quick work of this salad.
White on White Salad
Ingredients for the salad:
1 medium jicama, julienned
1 medium apple, julienned, I have used Granny Smith, Gala and Braeburn
½ cup fresh pineapple, finely diced and drained
2 medium leeks, white and pale pale green part only, very thinly sliced
¼ cup golden raisins
½ cup creme fraiche (recipe below)
2-3 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
pinch sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts, caramelized (recipe below)
Instructions for the salad:
1. Using a Mandolin with the matchstick blade carefully slice the apple, and jicama. Each item should yield about 1 1/2 – 2 cups once cut. You can play with the quantity of each depending on your flavor preference. You can keep all the sliced produce in a bowl of cold water with a touch of lemon juice to keep them from browning. When ready to dress the salad make sure you completely drain the matchsticks. I like to dry them with a paper towel.
2. Thinly slice just the white part of the leek. Separate the rings. Set aside.
3. 5. Lightly coat the jicama and apple golden raisins, pineapple and 1/2 of the leeks with the dressing. Garnish with the remaining leek rings and cilantro. Enjoy
Instructions for the Easy Creme Fraiche
1. Microwave 1 cup Heavy Cream for 30 seconds to take off the chill.
2. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the cream.
3. Stir (it will look a bit curdled at first). Let this mixture sit out for several hours until thick.
4. Refrigerate. This will keep in the refrige for 1-2 weeks.
Ingredients for the Caramelized Pine Nuts:
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon sugar
Instructions for the Caramelized Pine Nuts:
1. In small frying pan over medium-low heat, combine sugar and pinenuts. As sugar begins to melt, use wooden spoon to stir and ensure all pine nuts are coated with the sugar.
2. Cook until sugar has fully melted and pine nuts are golden brown. Remove from heat; immediately transfer caramelized pine nuts to parchment paper or other nonstick surface to cool.