I am fortunate to live in an area that promotes farm to table eating and locally sourced food. I have two farmer’s markets in close proximity to me and I do my best to swing by each weekend. This is truly the best way to venture out and try produce I’ve never bought, or even heard of for that matter. I remember first buying a watermelon radish years ago, and almost falling over when I cut into it and witnessed the brilliant fuschia interior.
You just don’t get those moments when you’re staying in your comfort zone.
Now, I do realize that not everyone lives so close to a farmer’s market so I wanted to share a simple Spring salad made of local ingredients to me but not so esoteric that you won’t be able to find them at your favorite market. Here I’ve adopted one of my favorite vegetable cutting techniques, shaving on a mandolin. Mandolins are not so scary once you get comfortable with it, and are willing to forsake the last inch of produce to keep your fingers intact! They really produce beautiful shapes with great texture. They are also cheap, and can be found all over the place, so get one if you don’t already have one.
Since I love salads that DON’T include greens (no offense to the Cruciferous vegetable family. I love you, just not everyday), this is a favorite combination of mine when the weather starts to get balmy. The crisp, slightly sweet radish is offset by the oniony chives and pungent anchovies and capers. The pine nuts are buttery, the parmesan is just that hit of rich salt you need, and the fresh lemon brightens it all up. One important thing in keeping the salad crisp and lovely: Dress the vegetables as close to serving as possible.
Here’s to spring, healthful living, and the farms that work to provide us with these gorgeous treats. From my market to yours, enjoy.
Shaved Radish and Celery with Garlic Chives, Pine Nuts, and Anchovy-Caper Dressing
1 large bunch radishes, trimmed, scrubbed, and shaved on a mandoline
3 large stalks celery, shaved on a mandoline
1 teaspoon anchovy paste, OR 1 anchovy filet, finely minced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped capers
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon garlic chives OR standard chives, minced
Sea salt and cracked pepper
In a jar, combine anchovy paste or filet, lemon juice, olive oil, capers, parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake vigourosly.
In a large bowl, combine radishes and celery. Toss to combine. Add pine nuts and parmesan, tossing again.
Add the dressing and chives to the salad and fold until well blended. Adjust lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve within 30 minutes.
*My Two Cents: Toasted walnuts or almonds would be a nice swap for the pine nuts here.
If you don’t care for anchovy, simply replace it with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. It won’t have quite the same punch, but it’ll be close.
Photo credit: organic authority.com