Escarole Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Pomegranate Seeds and Avocado

Escarole is a slightly bitter winter lettuce that partners well with other strong flavors—roasted broccoli, tangy pomegranate seeds and a mustardy vinaigrette, for starters.  We’ve added lots of pistachio nuts for crunch and a touch of aged Parmesan for flourish.  If you can’t find escarole substitute one of its cousins such as frisée or endive.  Peppery arugula would be lovely as well.  Cauliflower or Romanesco would be a nice addition if you don’t have broccoli on hand.

The colors make this dish a natural choice for a winter holiday table.

Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup olive oil or a nut oil such as pistachio or walnut
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • One large head broccoli, stems peeled, florets and stems cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup shelled, raw, unsalted pistachio nuts
  • One avocado
  • A mix of escarole and lettuce leaves in any proportion, well rinsed and cut into roughly 2-inch pieces (about 5 or so cups total)
  • One handful fresh parsley or other fresh herbs, such as cilantro, chervil or chives, chopped
  • One shallot or similar amount of sweet onion, thinly shaved
  • Pomegranate seeds from one small pomegranate
  • Fresh Parmesan shavings, to taste


  • Whisk together in a small bowl, 1/4 olive or nut oil, vinegar, mustard, orange juice and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Alternatively, place ingredients in an empty and clean jelly jar, close the lid tightly and shake well to combine.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss broccoli with a small amount of olive oil to lightly coat, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Cover with foil and roast for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to roast until broccoli is spotted with brown patches and tender (about 5 to 10 more minutes).  Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  • Place pistachios on a baking sheet and toast in the hot oven until they have spots of brown here and there (5 or so minutes).  Keep a close eye on and stir toasting nuts frequently, as they burn easily.  Cool and very roughly chop—large pieces are nice.
  • Make a cut lengthwise all the way around the avocado, through its skin and flesh, down to the pit.  Turn the halves in opposite directions from each other, around the pit and pull halves apart.  Remove the pit from whichever half it remains attached to by gently squeezing on the flesh to pop the pit out.  Or pierce the pit with a sharp knife and pull it out.  Score the flesh into cubes, by making three lengthwise cuts, evenly separated from each other.  Then make perpendicular cuts, crosswise, in the same fashion.  Gently scoop the flesh out with a soup spoon.  It will naturally separate into cubes.
  • In a large salad bowl, toss the escarole, lettuce, parsley, roasted broccoli and shallot with the vinaigrette, using just enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves.  Refrigerate any leftover vinaigrette for another salad.
  • Sprinkle pomegranate seeds, pistachios, avocado cubes and cheese shavings evenly over the top of the salad.
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