I made this up in imitation of a delicious salad served at the wonderful Bandaloop in Kennebunkport, ME (yes, the name comes from Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume). I recommend a meal there if you’re in the neighborhood—good to make a reservation. Save room and walk down the street afterward to Rococo, for the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I still can’t get their pomegranate cilantro sorbet out of my head—it changed my life in the way that all the art that touches us most deeply does.
Warm Winter Salad
The sum of the parts in this dish is more delicious than the parts alone. Amounts are imprecise, and serve roughly 2-4. Play with ratios of vegetables so that salad is a balance of colors and elements—so that every bite will contain most of the flavors, or so that there are plenty of the things you like the most. Scale up to serve more people.
In a large skillet, adding olive oil as needed, sauté one large red onion, cut into crescent moons. As onion begins to soften, add stem of one large broccoli floret, peeled and cut into pieces. After a moment or two add the broccoli crown, cut into small trees and half trees. Add a good sprinkling of thyme, and a handful or two of pine nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the broccoli is bright green and al dente, add in a couple of big handfuls of grape or cherry tomatoes, and one to two cans artichoke hearts, quartered or cut into sixths. Sauté just until tomatoes are hot.
Fill a salad bowl with several servings of baby spinach leaves. Pour the stir-fry over the spinach, dress with balsamic vinegar and additional olive oil, as needed, and toss until spinach wilts. Add more salt or pepper, as needed.