If you live in or near Los Angeles and have not yet tried Osteria Mozza, shame on you.
According to some [my parents], it is the closest to Italy that you will get without actually going. Since I didn't have enough vacation to go [shame on me], I figured Mozza was a darn good alternate.
And it was.
On my first and only visit [thus far], we enjoyed an amazing meal. Homemade La Brea breads [which could not have been related to the sub par variety found at your local grocery] were abruptly brought out to whet the appetite. And whet they did. This was some of the best bread I have ever had. I don't know why Nancy Silverton and her bakery would make anything less.
We had a fabulous meal that evening. Little did I know that the salad course would make the lasting impression.
Red endive, fennel and Parmigiano Reggiano with date anchovy dressing. It was incredible. Tangy sweet meets bitter salt.
I had to try to replicate it. And I did. Sort of.
Using what I had on hand, I tossed some chopped radicchio and baby arugula. In a food processor, I combined a few dried figs, an anchovy fillet, and a garlic clove. Added a little orange juice and olive oil to the mix. Same tangy sweet bitter salt. Shaved some grana padano over top and voila.
I call it fig anchovy vinaigrette. Darn close enough.
bitter greens w/ fig anchovy vinaigrette
1 large head radicchio
2 generous handfuls [baby] arugula
4 dried mission figs
1 white anchovy fillet
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp balsamic or raw apple cider vinegar [GAPS friendly]
1/4 cup olive oil
grana padano, thinly shaved
In a food processor, chop the figs, anchovy and garlic until minced. Add olive oil and orange juice and repeat. Taste and adjust if needed.
Toss dressing into salad a little at a time (so as not to overdress).
Garnish with grana padano and serve.