winter salad with lemon anchovy cream

winter salad with lemon anchovy cream

March is the Month of Expectation – Emily Dickinson

It’s not quite March yet, but at this point of a particularly brutal one, it’s hard not to get antsy for The End of Winter….impatience fueled by a subtle shift of light. There’s light in the sky in the early morning when our groggy household starts the day, and still lingering now at dusk, 5:45 pm as I write this. We are moving closer to the sun!

winter salad with lemon anchovy cream

It was snowing again this morning, but I didn’t want to venture out for provisions. So I dug into the produce drawer of the refrigerator, hungry for the vitamins in fresh leaves and crisp vegetables. I felt like Captain Cook scrounging around in the galley for a wedge of lime to suck on. 

I pulled out some things for a salad — a bunch of romaine, radicchio, a fennel bulb and at the very back of the drawer the most stalwart survivor I had on hand; a gnarly, hairy old celery root I brought home sometime last December. This aged gentleman had been keeping to himself in the darkness of the produce bin, none the worse for wear as I discovered soon after I prepped him for lunch.

salted anchovies celery root
winter radicchio pomegranate

I made use of another pantry keeper, salted anchovies, to make a tangy, creamy dressing for my winter salad. The whole thing tuned out to be so colorful, crunchy and uplifting; just what’s needed to help round the corner until it’s truly spring.

lemon anchovy salad cream

The colors and textures of this salad were very much inspired by one I had at Balthazar restaurant on a recent cold Saturday afternoon  —  my daughter and her friend giddily inhaled their hamburgers; then puffy profiteroles stuffed with vanilla ice cream, lavishly doused by the waiter with warm chocolate sauce – while I was content to sip a glass of sparkling rose and appreciate my salad, which is justifiably famous, over a decade after it was created.

My creamy dressing is based on one from Alice Waters’ newest book, The Art of Simple Food.

winter salad with  lemon anchovy cream /

winter salad with lemon anchovy cream

Yield: serves 2 - 4


  • Lemon anchovy cream:
  • Grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon white wine or rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane or finely chopped
  • 2 salt-packed anchovies, rinsed well
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salad:
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and cut into matchsticks*
  • 1 fennel bulb, stems trimmed
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 1/3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds*


  1. To make the dressing, put the lemon zest, juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic in a blender or mini food processor, or mix together in a small bowl.
  2. Slice the tail off the anchovies; lay flat side up and make an incision from top to bottom down the center of each. Use your fingers to open the anchovies; find the backbone, pull it out and discard. Chop the anchovies very finely and add to the lemon mixture.
  3. Add crème fraiche and olive oil and either blend/process until smooth and creamy or whisk by hand. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Put the romaine leaves in a large salad bowl with the celery root.
  5. Peel the base of the fennel bulb with a vegetable peeler to remove the tougher outer layer. Slice the fennel very, very thinly – by hand or with a mandoline; add to the salad bowl.
  6. Slice the radicchio in half, then quarter each half through the root end to make 8 wedges.
  7. Pour half the dressing over the romaine, celery root and fennel and toss gently. Arrange the radicchio on top and drizzle with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.


*To prep the celery root, use a large sharp knife to slice off the top and root end; stand the celery root with one cut side down and remove the outer skin with the knife by slicing all around perpendicular to the cutting board. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the celery root to keep it from going brown, then slice it very thinly. Stack the slices and slice to make matchsticks.

*Try this method for seeding a pomegranate: slice in half through the equator, then turn each half cut side-down over a bowl; smack it sharply with the back of wooden spoon - the seeds will fall right out into the bowl.


  1. That sounds like a wonderful winter salad and I happen to have a head of radicchio and a lonely celery root waiting to be put to good use in the fridge right now!

  2. The salad is stunning. We’ve been getting such great greenhouse grown lettuces at the farmers market. I look forward to trying the recipe!

    • El-How lucky you are to have a winter farmer’s market! It tempers this beast of a winter to have stuff grown in a greenhouse. I could venture into Union Square to the market but haven’t been up to the trek…early spring for sure.


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