This salad expresses Dennis Leary's interest in historical ingredients and cooking. "Bitter greens and nuts have been foraged for thousands of years," he says. Leary likes to wilt the greens, but in a summer salad, they're equally delicious when left fresh and crisp.
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1/2 cup hazelnuts
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
6 dried Calimyrna figs, 4 cut into 1/4-inch dice and 2 quartered
One 10-ounce head of chicory, torn into bite-size pieces (10 cups)
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a pie pan, toast the hazelnuts in the oven until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel and rub well to remove the skins. Coarsely chop the nuts.
In a medium skillet, combine the vinegar, water and diced figs and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until 1 tablespoon of liquid remains, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the chicory with the hazelnuts, parsley leaves and quartered figs.
Whisk the olive oil into the fig mixture in the skillet and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the hot dressing over the salad and toss well. Shave the pecorino on top, toss again and serve.
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