The more I cook, the more I anticipate Spring. Root vegetables have their charm, in a gut-extending way, but by March, I’m in desperate need of above-ground produce.
We know in the crunchiest of times, one can head to just about any large grocer these days and make our own salad. Really stellar preparations, you know those from exceptional eateries, however, pair just the right vegetables and seasonings, leaving us so ultra satisfied that we don’t feel it was a consolation meal or a diet burden, but rather a meaningful, well-intended combination of earth’s best, making us think for a nano-second “I could be vegetarian.”
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, remember how good this tasted?I snacked on the leftover cold meat at my refrigerator, door open, wrongly indicating this wouldn’t be a full meal, when nothing but a dose of iron would do after two days of sleep deprivation. Not saying goodbye to animal proteins, just yet.
The composition here, inspired by one of my favorite restaurant treasures, celebrates Spring and the bounty that belongs together in one perfect bite of food and machego cheese rounding it out with a nutty, salty, creamy boost.
springtime farmer’s market salad & citrus splash
Shopping at a farmer’s market is not required for any spring produce inspired salad. The idea is to select vegetables you favor that seem fresh from the garden and symbolic of the season. Our version rounds out with a hearty addition of machego, a nutty, light cheese from Spain that provides a toothsome bite similar to that of the balanced vegetables. Â Other cheese options if machego is unavailable, would be gouda or even a softer, young pecorino. Â Should you like sweet flavors in your salad, try dates or grapes and for nutty additions, pistachios seem perfect.
preptime: Â 15 min Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 servings
- handful of kale – leaves stripped from stems and shredded (as thinly sliced as your knife skills allow)
- 1/2 lemon
- pinch of coarse salt
- 6 asparagus stalks
- 12-14 sugar snap peapods
- 1 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced
- 1/2 avocado, spritzed with lemon juice and sliced
- spring greens
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 4 oz machego cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- citrus splash (below)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Squeeze some lemon onto shredded kale. Â Add pinch of coarse salt and massage kale for a moment to breakdown the texture.
- Blanche vegetables: Â In a medium pot, bring salted water to a soft boil. Â Prepare a large bowl with ice water (lots of ice and some water). Â Add asparagus and peapods to soft boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Â Remove vegetables from the water and plunge them directly into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Leave for 2-3 minutes then drain.
- Slice asparagus and pods on the diagonal into 1″ pieces. Â Slice or chop the other components if you haven’t already done so.
- To assemble the salad: mix ‘massaged, relaxed’ kale with spring greens. Â Top with remaining ingredients. Â Drizzle citrus splash over all and add salt and pepper to taste. Â With your hand, toss gently on the plate.
- Serve with wedges of lemon.
- Pop asparagus and peapods with a splash of water into microwave for 1 minute, plunge into a bowl of cold water to stop cooking.
- Eliminate the massage (but think of how stressed your kale will be)
To save time, this dressing can be assembled then blended in jar with a tight fitting lid. Â The preparation below, breaks the recipe into steps to better emulsify ingredients, but the taste is the same. i
preptime: 10 min Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â makes 2/3 cup
- juice from 1/2 small orange
- juice from 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar (white wine vinegar will do)
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup canola oil or grapeseed oil (anything clean, light)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallots (optional, but really get them if you can)
- Let chopped shallots sit (macerate) in vinegar for 10 min. if you have the time.
- Whisk juices, vinegar with shallots and mustard.
- In a slow stream, pour oil into the vinegar mixture, whisking to incorporate.
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