Well, the weather outside is….? Hard to figure out may be the best answer for that question. It sure has been a crazy spring. From unseasonably cool to days of rain, spring this year has been a little hard to pin down. So in the vein of different, this recipe might be a bit different than you’re used to. Why, you ask? Because I want you to think. To be creative. To search & explore the market. Which is how I came up with this recipe. Just wander around. No preconceived notions as to what I wanted to cook but one guiding principle: buy the freshest, most delicious things I can (made & grown locally, of course) and serve up something delicious. So, if you’re expecting firm guidelines & set quantities, this recipe probably isn’t for you. But if you love to wander the market, interact with the farmers & purveyors, and have a sense of curiosity, you’re in the right place.
Salad after a Wonky Weather Spring
The guiding principle today is find the best ingredients at the market. So before you buy anything, take a spin around and ask your farmers & purveyors what they like best. Once you have an idea of what looks great, formulate a plan. Is there a specific ingredient I want to feature? What textures am I trying to include? Is my dish balanced (sweet, sour, salty, bitter?) Today, I feel like a salad would be just the thing.
Honey Kissed Pickled Turnips (Doux South Pickles)
Fresh Spring Greens
So here’s the plan
- Peel the onions, leaving the root end attached. Cut in half. Brush with oil & grill until slightly charred (sweet with some smoke is the plan….). Cool down & once cool, cut root end away, leaving grilled onion “petals).
- Peel the carrots. Put outer skin in compost pile. Peel sweet flesh into a bowl. Add to bowl with grilled onions
- Chioggia beets are sweet & I love them raw. If the skin is thick you can peel them but we often just clean them thoroughly & then slice thinly (a mandolin is great for this). Reserve.
- Clean & cut fresh celery on a bias (crunchy is the idea!)
- Drain Doux South turnips of their juice. Reserve. Add turnips to bowl with everything else.
- Add toasted pecans & cherries (crunchy & sweet)
- Clean & add greens to the bowl
So we’ve now got a bowl of deliciousness. We need some dressing!
Pickled Turnip Dressing
- 1 part of the reserved turnip pickling liquid.
- Add three parts EVOO, season with salt & pepper
- There you go: easy dressing.
2 tbsp local honey
½ cup sherry vinegar (cider vinegar works well here also)
1 and 1/3 cups EVOO
1 tsp cinnamon (toast on the stove so it releases its aroma)
salt & pepper to taste (I like pepper here!)
- Add honey & vinegar to mixing bowl. Add cinnamon. Whisk in EVOO. Season to taste.
- So, add your dressing to the bowl of goodness. Add cheese. Taste it. Season with salt & pepper as necessary. Add shaved Chioggia beets last & serve. Eat local. Smile at someone you don’t know. Drink well. Support your local farmers & artisans. Give to charity. Participate in the community. And always have FUN……