Carmelitas restaurant is Barcelona’s favorite artworld haunt, overflowing at lunchtime with hipster artistes, gallerists sporting the latest fashion in eyewear, and sundry other bohemians. The menu is stylish, unpretentious, and impeccably tasty, and one of the perennial favorites is a salad that shows off the Catalan taste for dried fruit and nuts. This is my adaptation. The perfect greens for this salad are frisée, baby arugula, mâche, bite-size pieces of Belgian endive, and bits of radicchio. It is always better to create your own salad mixture, but in a pinch you can make do with store-bought mesclun. I like the apricots to be slightly chewy, but if you prefer, you can soak them in a warm sherry or a not-too-dry white wine. Use your best olive oil.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- ½ cup finely slivered dried apricots, or more to taste
- ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
- 12 cups mesclun, rinsed and dried
- 3 tablespoons best-quality red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ¼ cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
- Set aside a couple of tablespoons of the apricots and hazelnuts for garnish. Place the remaining apricots and hazelnuts, and the mesclun, in a large salad bowl and gently toss to mix.
- Place the vinegar, orange juice, and honey in a small bowl and whisk until the honey dissolves.
- Carefully toss the salad with the olive oil until the leaves are evenly coated. Add the vinegar mixture and toss until evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle the reserved apricots and hazelnuts on top, and serve at once.