From Flavors of the Sun: Mom’s Million-Dollar Salad
My mother is famous for this salad, which she makes year-round for parties. The name is a cheeky reference to the pricey ingredients—especially the pine nuts, since we use only those imported from Spain for this special dish. It is the centerpiece of our annual Memorial Day picnic, which often has one hundred and twenty or more in attendance, so you can imagine how many pounds of pine nuts we go through. But it’s such a winning recipe that I think you’ll agree it is worth every cent. Use the best-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano you can find—it’s worth it.
This recipe is in the Nutty chapter of Flavors of the Sun. The book is divided into five chapters: Bright, Savory, Spiced, Nutty, and Sweet so you can shortcut to exactly what you're craving. You can order your copy now from wherever books are sold.
1/4 cup [60 ml] plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup [60 g] pine nuts, preferably Spanish
1/4 cup [60 ml] white wine vinegar (such as prosecco or champagne)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz [230 g] mixed baby greens
4 baby red bell peppers, sliced into rings, or 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise then sliced thinly crosswise
1/2 small red onion, sliced into half moons
1/2 cup [80 g] diced Turkish dried apricots or cranberries
4 oz [115 g] chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano, the best quality you can find
In a sauté pan, warm the ¼ cup [60 ml] olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and sauté until browned, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Strain the oil into a small bowl, then spread the pine nuts on paper towels to drain. Let the nuts and oil cool completely.
Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the cooled pine nut oil. Whisk in the vinegar, garlic, salt, and Aleppo and black peppers.
Put the greens in a large bowl. Add the bell peppers, fennel, onion, and dried fruit and toss to combine. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese over the salad in large curls. Just before serving, drizzle with the dressing and toss well. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve immediately.