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Bitter Greens Salad with Soppressata & Pecorino

This bitter green salad turns the bland lunch salad on its head with its Mediterranean flair. Quickly charring radicchio and toasting dried oregano adds complex flavor, and slightly spicy soppressata pairs especially well with the sweetness of marinated cherry peppers. Pecorino Romano has a tangier, saltier taste than Parmesan, so just a bit provides the salad with plenty of nutty, sharp flavor. This salad can easily be made into a main course or served as a substantial side dish.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan & Marcona Almonds

Chef Fabio Viviani, of Siena Tavern in Chicago, shines a bright light on Brussels sprouts with this side dish. In this Brussels sprouts salad recipe, the sharpness of the sprouts gets tamed with honey, toasted almonds and shaved Parmesan cheese. It comes together in about 20 minutes--you can thinly slice the Brussels sprouts with a knife or mandoline, but it's overkill for weeknights. A food processor with a slicing blade will give you pro results. Or grab a bag of shredded Brussels sprouts from your supermarket.

Tomato-Basil Soup with Herbed Focaccia Croutons

Created by chef Fabio Viviani of Siena Tavern in Chicago, this vegetarian tomato-basil soup recipe takes full advantage of fresh tomatoes. Roma or plum tomatoes are fleshy, low in seeds and cheap--making them a good candidate for tomato soup. During peak season you may also see other suitable plum-shaped heirloom varieties at your farmers' market, but you can also ask for any low-seed, fleshy varieties they may have. While this silky soup is the perfect partner for grilled cheese sandwiches, the homemade croutons add an herby-crunchy accent that should not be missed.
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