This salad is based on bagna cauda ("hot bath"), a classic Piedmontese sauce made with anchovies, garlic, butter and olive oil. It's generally served warm, with raw vegetables for dipping. Melissa Rubel Jacobson transforms most of bagna cauda's ingredients into a dressing that she tosses with a nicely crunchy mix of escarole, radishes, celery and cucumber.
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Two 3/4-inch-thick slices of sourdough bread, cut into 3/4-inch dice (3 cups)
1 large head of escarole, light green and white leaves only, cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
6 radishes, thinly sliced
4 celery ribs with leaves, thinly sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and coarsely chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toast the bread for 15 minutes, tossing once, until lightly golden; let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the escarole strips with the radishes, celery, tomatoes and cucumber.
In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, chopped anchovies and minced garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season generously with pepper.
Add the croutons to the salad and toss. Pour the dressing over the salad, season lightly with salt and toss again. Serve at once.
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