Endive and lamb’s lettuce are among the treats of winter, a glimpse of green along with the seasonal roots on the vegetable stand. Teamed with beets for color and hazelnuts for crunch, they are a classic French combination, delicious with thin slices of Smithfield ham, or some imported prosciutto.

Serves 4
100 g/½ cup hazelnuts, toasted
450 g/1 lb cooked baby beets
2 heads (about 225g/½ lb) Belgian endive
170 g/6 oz lamb’s lettuce
330 g/¾ lb thinly sliced country ham
For the dressing
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
75ml/1/3 cup walnut oil

1. Toast and peel the hazelnuts. Trim the beets and slip off the skins with your fingers. Cut them into quarters or leave them whole depending on size. Trim the Belgian endive, discarding any browned outer leaves, Cut the heads diagonally into 1 cm/½ inch slices.

2. Trim the roots of the lamb’s lettuce and discard any wilted leaves leaving them in bunches. Soak them in a sink of water 15 minutes, shaking to loosen grit between the leaves – even the cleanest lamb’s lettuce seems to trap earth in the crevices. Lift out the bunches, rinsing under running water to remove the grit, and drain thoroughly. Combine the lamb’s lettuce and endive in a bowl.

3. For the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil so the dressing emulsifies and thickens slightly. Taste it, adjust the seasoning, and pour about half over the greens. Toss them and taste again for seasoning.

4. Pile the greens on four plates and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Curl the ham slices and arrange them on the greens with the beets around the edge. Spoon the remaining dressing over the beets and serve the salad within 15 minutes so the greens do not wilt.