Archive for the ‘Spring salad’ Category

Dandelion, fennel, and pumpkin seed salad with pumpkin seed oil

18 February 2012

I was craving something green.

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Pumpkin seed oil is quite common in Germany and Austria. Here in New York I have found it in health food stores, in the refrigerated section.

I rarely prepare salad dressing on the side; I usually just sprinkle the oil and lemon juice or vinegar directly onto the greens. It’s faster. The traditional ratio for salad dressing is three parts oil for one part vinegar but I prefer a little more pep.

1 bunch dandelion leaves

1 fennel bulb

1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil

2 Tbsps olive oil

1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp Lemon juice

Flaky sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

A small handful of raw pumpkin seeds

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Cut off the lower part of the dandelion stems, wash the leaves and spin or pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Tear or chop the larger leaves in half.

Cut off the stems and remove the coarse outer layer of the fennel bulb. Thinly slice it crosswise to obtain rings.

Place the dandelion leaves and fennel rings in a bowl. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seed and olive oils, the vinegar, the lemon juice, and toss well to dress the greens. Season with salt and pepper, and the pumpkin seeds, and toss one last time.

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Related posts

Endive salad with apples, walnuts, and comté

Lentil and fennel salad with lemon and parsley

Parsnip and butternut squash soup with sage

Lentil and fennel salad with lemon and parsley

28 April 2011

I made this salad for Easter lunch on Sunday. I imagined it as I went. Or so I thought.

Many people liked it a lot, and one friend in particular complimented me on the originality of the pairing. I graciously accepted the comment, but all the while something in the back of my mind was nagging. Surely I had not really come up with the idea. I must have seen it somewhere. Speaking to my mother on the phone the next day I asked her about this salad. Had she not previously made something similar that might have half-consciously inspired me?

My mother is an incredible cook, and a nutritionist. Not a steamed-carrots-and-brown-rice kind of nutritionist. She loves good food, really good food. Meat, fish, vegetables, salads, desserts, and – yes – butter. She has written a few books about nutrition, one of which is a book of recipes. Sure enough, one of those recipes is a lentil salad with fennel, parsley, and coriander.

This lentil and fennel salad is different, but the inspiration – as it turns out and like so many other things in my life without my realizing it at first – is my mother’s.

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1 cup green lentils (preferably Castelluccio or du Puy)

1 small red onion

2 bulbs fennel

A generous handful flat-leaved parsley

1 bay leaf

3 Tbsps good olive oil

2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar

Juice and zest from 1 lemon (more lemon juice may be required depending on how juicy it is)

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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The lentils are cooked the same way as for this basic lentils recipe

Pick through the lentils to look for small stone intruders that must be discarded.

To wash lentils, cover with cold water and drain in a fine mesh sieve.

Peel and cut into large chunks the onion and half a fennel, reserving the rest of the fennel for later.

Place lentils into a medium-sized saucepan with 2 cups (double the volume) water. Add vegetable chunks, a few sprigs of parsley, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat when the lentils are cooked to your liking – I like them to retain a nice bite. Discard sprigs of parsley and vegetable chunks, pour lentils into a large bowl, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

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Wash and finely chop the rest of the parsley.

Cut the fennel in half. Place it face side down onto the cutting board, and cut into thin strips, height-wise.

Season the lentils with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper. **The measurements given above are suggestions. I find that lentils hold up to a bold amount of acidity. It is best to season gradually, and adjust according to taste.**

Toss the lentils with the fennel and parsley. Check one last time for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and serve.

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Related posts

Lentils

Dandelion, fennel, and pumpkin seed salad with pumpkin seed oil

Simply kale salad

8 November 2010

Now is the time to eat kale salad, when the first bites of frost have rendered the leaves mild and sweet. As winter settles in kale will become more flavorful but also tougher – perfect for soups. Since I first ate kale salad a few years ago, I’ve been looking out for perfect tender kale to recreate it at home but always seemed to miss the season. I’ve finally caught the right time and decided to make a salad that best respects the essence of raw kale.

Since this salad is all about the kale, it’s not worth making unless the leaves are perfect. I prefer to use a less curly but rather crinkly variety, such as lacinato or rainbow lacinato kale. The leaves should be visibly tender – the best test is to break off a tiny piece and taste it right then and there at the market.

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Sweet and tender, first-frost-bitten lacinato or rainbow lacinato kale leaves

Best olive oil

Lemon

Maldon (or other flaky) sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Parmigiano reggiano cheese*

***

Wash kale in cold water and spin or pat dry. Remove tougher part of the stem (fold leaf in half and cut off its thick “spine”). Cut leaves into tagliatelle-thin strips and place them in a bowl. Dress the kale with a generous dash of olive oil, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, a pinch or two of salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss well to coat the kale and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Place dressed salad on plate and grate parmigiano on top just before serving.

* I made this salad with parmigiano because I always have some at home, however I think it would be just as good (perhaps better, even) with pecorino or coarsely grated ricotta salata.


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