What happened to the go to?

My go-to: Radicchio and Belgian endive salad with blue cheese and walnuts

My Mom is a wonderful cook. I know, I’m biased, but – while I believe that most moms can cook at least something wonderful, that hug-on-a-plate that holds a special place in your sense memory – my Mom really is a wonderful cook. Her broad palate and sense of adventure have built a broad repertoire of recipes. However she still has some go-tos.

What’s a go to? It’s one of those recipes that in years past every homemaker could be depended upon to whip up for any special occasion, from a neighborhood potluck to a dinner party. Even if the homemaker in question was not a great cook and approached the kitchen with little passion, they had a dish or three they could go-to any time they needed to impress.

My go-to: Radicchio and Belgian endive salad with blue cheese and walnuts

So what happened to the go-to? It seems today that while we may have a weeknight go-to, that same recipe for salmon or boneless, skinless chicken thighs that we serve over and over and over, today no one talks about a go-to dish. In the age of celebrity chefs and instagrammed meals many have the same aversion to being caught serving the same meal that they hold for attending multiple weddings in one summer wearing the same dress.

But I’m going to argue for the go-to. Why? It’s a recipe you can shop for and prepare from memory. You’ve made it so many times you know the ingredients and quantities by heart. You can complete each step of preparation in your sleep leaving your mind free to think about table linens and what to wear.

Which brings us to this recipe. If the sheer number of photos I have from years of Christmas and New Year’s dinners to this week’s Valentine’s Day television appearance are any indication, then this is my winter salad go-to. It looks great on the plate and the bitter greens, creamy blue cheese and toasted black walnuts taste amazing. So come on over for dinner. I know just what to serve.

What is your go to recipe?

Radicchio and Belgian Endive Salad

Serves 6-8

For Salad:

  • 2 Belgian endive, leaves separated
  • 1 head radicchio, leaves torn into bite-seized pieces
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, I like using black walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
My go to recipe: Radicchio and Belgian endive salad with walnuts and blue cheese

For dressing:

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup walnut oil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil – the good stuff!


  • Toss greens together with blue cheese, walnuts and parsley.
  • Make vinaigrette: whisk together shallot, mustard, apple cider vinegar with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Let rest for 20 minutes while flavors blend. To finish, drizzle in walnut and olive oils, while whisking, to make a creamy emulsion.
  • Taste the dressing with a leaf of the greens and season to taste with more salt, olive oil or vinegar as needed.
  • Toss salad with dressing right before serving.

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