Sometimes I crave sweets, especially dark chocolate and sometimes I crave fruits or vegetables. Once when I was visiting my sister Margie for the weekend she served a mixed green salad with a snappy vinaigrette that had some Dijon mustard and was just delish. We both enjoyed it so much we had seconds instead of a dessert!
If you live salad maybe you would like my new favorite spring salad. It is flexible so put the greens in that you love. But one caveat, no iceberg lettuce, please. It has minimal flavor and is the wrong texture for this spring salad. Not to mention that it is seriously lacking in nutrients.
So, to create my special Easter salad, I got a box of cleaned and washed spring greens from Valley Farm Market in Bethlehem, full of tiny leaves of a variety of lettuces as well as beet and spinach leaves. I also got some sugar snap peas and a bunch of radishes from there. The produce is very fresh and of outstanding quality at Valley Farm, located on Stefko Boulevard. This bunch of radishes looked just picked and still had the greens attached. I washed them and cut the root tail off and the stems. I cut each into ¼ inch rounds. I cut the pea pods in half and steamed the sugar snap peas for 3 or 4 minutes, removing them from the heat just before they were done so the pods still had a bit of snap to them. I drained them and put them and the radishes in a dish and refrigerated them for 30 or 40 minutes until they were really cold.
The greens were washed, dried in the salad spinner and placed in a large salad bowl. Mine is translucent plastic from Target, nothing fancy! Toss in the chilled snap peas and the radish rounds. Then sprinkle with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.
Here is my basic vinaigrette recipe. You can alter it to your tastes and leftovers keep for several weeks in the fridge.
I use one of those Good Seasoning’s jars but add my own ingredients. Fill it to the vinegar line with red wine vinegar, not the cheap store brand (skimpy 1/4 cup). Then some filtered water to the water line (about 1/3 inch more or two tbsp.). Next I add ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp sea salt, a ¼ tsp dried thyme, one garlic clove (peeled and mashed down a bit to release flavor), 1 tsp mayonnaise, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper and ½ tsp sugar. Then top off with some extra virgin olive oil, stop a bit before the oil line and finish it with lighter olive oil (1/2 cup plus one tbsp of olive oil). Shake it up really well. It tastes best at room temperature and marinate it all put together for at least an hour before you use it the first time. Keep in the refrigerator if there is any left over. The mustard adds snap and the bit of mayo helps the dressing stay emulsified (fully blended) longer than it would without the mayo.
You can guild the lily with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like. This is a light and delicate salad that will complement any number of main dishes like pasta, roasted meat or fish dishes. As I said, you can swap out the peas or radishes for other veggies like raw zucchini, carrot rounds or whatever floats your boat! I like to choose things that look fresh and are in season. Don’t put too much of any one veggie in; you want them to be like treasures to be discovered in the nest of fresh greens you have lightly coated with a tasty vinaigrette.
Be creative and have fun making fresh, healthy and yummy salads that will round out your meal and keep you feeling great!