This is week 3 of this season’s CSA share from Sol to Seed Farm. It’s not a huge share but it’s filled with produce we enjoy, including:
It’s particularly special to have snow peas. In fact I just opened up the bag and just started snacking. Most recipes call for stir-frying or steaming snow peas, but these pods are so sweet and tender, you don’t need to do anything to enjoy them. According to Farmer Matt, this might be the only share of snow peas I get this year. He says, “The deer found them a couple days ago and have been taking a foot off the top of the plants at night.”
Three weeks ago I shared a handy tip to store lettuce to improve refrigerated shelf-life. We really enjoy the lettuces here and know that they’ll eventually go out of season so I grateful for all I get now. I took a big green salad to a friend’s house for dinner on Tuesday and everyone had seconds. I figure if you’re used to eating store-bought lettuce which is kept fresh by gadgets and gasses, you really haven’t tasted lettuce at all. Alice Waters was an early champion of seasonal and local salads in the late 1970’s. I met her years ago in New York at a class she was teaching at the French Culinary Institute where she talked about contributing a mixed salad to a chef competition in 1979 at Tavern on the Green. Her salad was unlike anything anyone in America was eating or imagining at that time. Salad used to be iceberg lettuce and sliced tomato with Thousand Island dressing. Her salad was inspired from her experiences living and cooking in France, a bountiful salad assembled like a painting with different shades of greens, reds, purples, yellows- ruffled and flat surfaces, and edible flowers. For such a serious competition, presenting a salad was a risky and bold move, but she won accolades from the judges and chefs such as Chef Paul Prudhomme and helped launch her career as the formidable leader of the American local/seasonal food movement she remains today.
Try preparing a salad made with an ensemble of just-picked vegetables in season, raw or blanched, and mixed together with a light and tangy dressing like Walnut Dijon (see below). It will completely satisfy all of your senses (bright colors, texture, flavor, the sound of cutting, ripping, tossing, etc), it is obviously good for your body, and it’s oh-so delicious. Now that I think about it, I could make assemble a beautiful salad with everything in this week’s box. Try this:
A Big Beautiful Salad for One
Tear off two leaves each of Romaine lettuce and iceberg, rinse and pat dry. Cut off the end tip of the stem and gently rip the leaves into smaller bite sized pieces with your hands and place in a mixing bowl. Take a leaf of purple Redbor kale and rinse and pat dry. Cut out the hard stem (and discard to compost bin) and then chiffonade or thinly slice the leaf and sprinkle over the lettuces. Take a yellow squash and slice the tips off both ends and discard. Slice one half of the squash lengthwise and then use a spoon to carefully core the squash from one end to the other (and save the other half of the squash for a pasta sauce or minestrone for dinner). Slice into yellow crescent moon shaped pieces and sprinkle over the lettuce and kale. For the cabbage, just slice about 1 inch off the side of the head and then chiffonade cut that peice with a knife. Again, sprinkle into the bowl with the other ingredients. Cut off a few florets from the broccoli and add them to the bowl. Lastly, take a handful of the fresh tender snow peas. Grab the tip of each snow pea and pull out the tough string that runs along the side. You can either cut in half before adding to the bowl, or just toss in whole.
Walnut Dijon Dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together:
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider or white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. Transfer salad to a colorful bowl and enjoy with a slice of buttered Campagnolo toast.