Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring Greens -- A Salad to Celebrate the Season



I love throwing together a big salad.  It's just about the easiest thing to do and always gets rave reviews from dinner guests.  But in all honesty, I can't take much credit for it, as I've had to do very little to transform these ingredients -- a little chopping, blanching, sauteing is all.

Full credit goes to mother nature and the farmer that took the time to grow the vegetables.  And to the artisan that produced the chorizo, thank you.  Life would not be the same without chorizo.  Very dull indeed.  :-)

Couldn't decide between soft-boiled or poached [duck] eggs, so I did both.  It's good to have options.



This is a more than a salad.  It's a celebration of spring.

Asparagus.

Fresh peas.

Fresh fava (aka broad) beans.

Mixed greens/lettuces.

Radish sprouts.

Potatoes.

Duck eggs. 

Chives/chive blossoms.

Chorizo.

Toasted pumpkin seeds.

This just about sums up everything I love about food -- from gathering and prepping the ingredients (especially when as wonderful as these), to sitting down at the table and sharing it with others.

I feel like I should write more.  But what else can be said, other than...simplicity at its finest.

Lots of greens and purples this time of year...







Save the shelled pea pods and asparagus stems/tips.  They're great for stocks...


Spring Greens -- A Salad to Celebrate the Season
This is just a guide.  Feel free to incorporate whatever seasonal vegetables you like; alter quantities as you see fit. 
4-5 small potatoes
Fresh peas
Fresh shelled fava beans
[Duck or chicken] eggs (1 per serving)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 slices chorizo, thinly sliced
Smoked Spanish paprika
Bunch of asparagus
Mixed greens (any combination of mesclun, arugula, dandelions greens, sorrel, etc.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sherry Vinaigrette (recipe below)

For garnish:
Radish sprouts
Chives/chive blossoms
Toasted pumpkin seeds

Boil the potatoes.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Boil the potatoes until fork tender, about 8-10 minutes. Cut into ~1/2" slices and set aside.

Blanch the peas and fava beans.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Prepare an ice water bath.  Drop the peas into the boiling water, boil a minute or two, then transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice water bath (which helps the peas retain their bright green color).  Drain and set aside.  Drop the fava beans into the boiling water.  Boil a few minutes.  Transfer to the ice water bath.  Drain.  Peel the fava beans.  Set aside.

For soft-boiled duck eggs.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and carefully lower the eggs into the water.  Set your timer (7 minutes for duck eggs; 6-6 1/2 minutes for chicken eggs [duck egg yolks are larger than chicken, so will take slightly longer]).  Remove with a slotted spoon and place the eggs in a bowl of cold water.  Carefully peel the eggs.  Set aside.  

For the chorizo, potatoes, asparagus, peas, and fava beans.
Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus.  Roughly chop into 1 1/2" long pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chorizo and saute a couple minutes until lightly browned.  With a slotted spoon remove the chorizo and reserve.  Add the reserved sliced potatoes, a large pinch of smoked paprika, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute until nicely browned on both side (add more olive oil if needed).  Add the asparagus and saute a couple minutes until tender and lightly browned.  Add the blanched peas and fava beans and saute another minute.  Taste and season.  Remove from the heat and let cool. 

Assemble the salad.
Toss the greens with the vinaigrette.  Place the dressed greens on a large platter.  Top with the chorizo, potato, asparagus, pea, fava bean mixture.  Slice the soft-boiled eggs in half width-wise and scatter around the plate.  Sprinkle the chives and purple chive blossoms, toasted pumpkin seeds, and radish micro greens on top.  Drizzle with a bit more dressing, a little sea salt, and few grinds of black pepper.

Serve with toasted baguette, drizzled with olive oil, rubbed with garlic, and finished with a pinch of sea salt.

Sherry Vinaigrette
makes ~1/2 cup
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste
1/2 shallot (~1 TBSP), minced
1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste
2-3 anchovies, chopped (optional)
drizzle of honey, to taste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk by hand or with an immersion blender until emulsified. 

2 comments:

Chantelle said...

Wow! This is truly gorgeous, your photography is so artistic. It's photos like those that inspire me to pursue food photography. Thanks!

Allie said...

Beautiful ingredients making for beautiful photos. I love it!