Salad Capricciosa

Muted colors, vibrant flavors in a fall salad
JERRY ANNE DI VECCHIO

Salad is one of those words that get tossed around. It's applied to such a wide-ranging variety of presentations that one wonders, are there any limits? I'm certainly in no position to draw the line, as I consider even gazpacho a salad ― a fluid one. Paul Bertolli of Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland, California, on the other hand, restricts his salad caprice to sounder turf with this lovely dish suited to the seasonal shift to cooler days. Sturdy flavors are cloaked in subtle colors ― pale gold and faded greens, the reaction of artichokes, fennel, leeks, and celery to being poached, in this case in a flavorful broth. I use all the broth to make the dressing, a variation on Bertolli's creation. Offer the salad in small portions to start a meal, or in generous measure as a main dish.