Why It Works
- Cipollini onions have a high sugar content, so they caramelize beautifully and turn sweet when roasted.
- The sweet, soft onions balance the crunchy cabbage and bitter chicory.
- The warm onions and vinaigrette soften the cabbage just enough to remove its rough, raw edge.
This winter salad combines gorgeously sweet, meltingly tender roasted cipollini onions with red cabbage, bitter chicory, walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese. The combination hits all the notes you want in a hearty salad, with a variety of flavors and textures, from very soft to crispy and crunchy.
- 1 pound (450g) cipollini onions, ends trimmed, peeled (see note)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) balsamic vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups red cabbage (4.5 ounces; 125g), thinly sliced (from about 1/2 medium head)
- 2 cups chicory leaves (2 1/2 ounces; 70g), washed and torn into small pieces
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (2 ounces; 50g), coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces (85g) aged goat cheese, such as Humboldt Fog
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). In a baking dish, arrange onions in a single layer. Drizzle with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme sprigs and toss until onions are evenly coated. Roast, turning twice, until onions are soft and well browned, about 40 minutes. Keep warm.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place cabbage and chicory in a large bowl and toss with just enough dressing to coat. Add warm onions and walnuts and toss again, adding more dressing if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and top with goat cheese. Serve.
Dunking the onions in boiling water for not more than one minute, then immediately cooling them with water, can help loosen the skins and make peeling easier.