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Dolce Italian shares a salad to bid summer farewell

PHOTO: Dolce Italian in Chicago shares a perfect end-of-summer salad. | Nick Robins Photo

There’s no denying it; fall is on it’s way to settling in, which means we’ve got to enjoy the flavors of summer while we still have ’em.

Here’s a great salad from Dolce Italian in Chicago’s River North and Chef Paolo Dorigato, winner of Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant.” It brings together so many of the flavors that just say summer: cucumber and radishes, along with a personal favorite, avocado. It takes things up a notch with the inclusion of hearts of palm and fennel bulb.

Dolce Italian in The Godfrey Hotel, 127 W.Huron | Barry Brecheisen Photo

I like the dressing too, because it serves as a reminder that you don’t have to stick with just one type of vinegar. Adding two here ups the complexity of the flavor.

Trust me, it comes together fairly easily, and would be a hit at a family dinner or a party (it’s easy to double or triple). Give it a try!

SO-LONG SUMMER SALAD

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

6 cups Boston lettuce, outer leaves discarded

4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 mint sprigs, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

4 red radishes, thinly sliced

1 English cucumber, sliced, skin on

½ cup fresh hearts of palm, sliced on a bias

1 fennel bulb trimmed, peeled and thinly sliced, then shocked in ice water

¾ cup ripe avocado, sliced (1 avocado)

1 bunch hydro watercress

1 watermelon radish, trimmed and julienned

2 tablespoon chives, chopped

Separate and wash the lettuce leaves, cut the bigger ones in half. Pat dry.

To prepare the dressing, mix the 2 vinegars together in a blender. Add the mustard and blend. Slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl season the lettuce leaves with the dressing. Add the mint, shallots, and toss. Add the radishes, cucumber, hearts of palm and fennel bulb. Clean and dice the avocado and gently fold into the salad; add the watercress.

Put the salad into bowls. Garnish with the watermelon radish and chopped chives.

Chef Paolo Dorigato, Dolce Italian

Note: Story updated to reflect correct name of the hotel.