Just before Easter this year, I visited Decatur’s wonderful Farmers Market on a gorgeous Saturday morning. Oddly enough, I was taking photos of the beautiful vegetables, as I typically do, while the talented Ms. Inga Finch was snapping professional shots of me! ‘Twas quite the strange sensation. But, I grew more and more comfortable with her staring at me by chatting it up with my farmer friends who make growing produce look easy. As you well know, I love to cook with fresh, seasonal goodies, since they are at the peak of flavor and provide an amazing canvas for creating delicious meals. The inspiration for a colorful Easter dish was plentiful.
Greg Brown’s table was overflowing with lettuces like radicchio,
in addition to spring onions,
and two varieties of kale.
I’ll actually be cooking on Greg’s farm in a couple weeks, utilizing his straight-off-the-farm ingredients, to feed folks who come to help him till and fill the land. I’m super excited about this opportunity!
Le Tre Lune’s spread included these picture perfect hakurei turnips,
chicory lettuce and black radishes,
and swiss chard.
And Steve Miller’s Farm offered lots of options like carrots,
and sweet potatoes.
Amazing variety, right??? Ain’t a bad thing to live in Georgia with all this tastiness coming out of the ground, readily available for the taking!
Being a little bit greedy, I wanted to (and did) pocket many of these vegetables. My goal was to create a dish that captured the flavors, textures, and colors of spring.
I whipped up a jar of Green Goddess-ish dressing to coat the vegetables in light herbiness.
For the dressing:
1 Cup plain yogurt
3 cloves garlic
zest and juice of a lemon
3 sprigs fresh basil leaves
good handful fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 Cup + extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of honey if necessary to balance the flavors
Place ingredients in a blender or food processor, or a cup like the one below to use with an immersion blender.
Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and pulse several times. Once your ingredients are well-combined and broken down, begin slowly streaming in olive oil while you blend. Keep streaming until you are happy with the thickness of your dressing. I believe I added about 3/4 Cup of oil in the end. Stop and taste your dressing. If it strikes you as too acidic, feel free to add a touch of honey to balance out your flavors. Adjust salt level and blend again. When you are pleased with the flavor and texture, transfer dressing to a jar.
It should be bright green. You want to make fast work of the blending so you don’t pulverize the basil, turning it to a more dull color.
For the salad:
*Note- I chopped everything into small bite-sized pieces- maybe 1/2 inch or smaller.
3 small kohrabi, peeled and chopped- leaves too!
1 bunch radishes, chopped
10 – 12 small carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch hakurei turnips, chopped
5 – 7 leaves chicory lettuce, reserve for chopping and adding last minute.
Combine chopped veggies in a large bowl. Drizzle with a little bit of dressing at a time- be sure not to overdress and weigh down the veggies!
Toss to coat the vegetables in your dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. My test bite was simple perfection. Chill your salad until you are ready to serve. At the last minute, chop your chicory leaves or other fresh lettuce leaves and toss. Assess level of dressing and add a touch more, if you like, before serving.
This salad was devoured in a matter of moments by our crew of Easter family, enjoyed at festively set tables.
It was served alongside the ham,
yellow squash casserole,
and this Ridiculous Potato Salad that Adam and I lovingly put together.
Literally, that’s what my mom calls it now. She’s made it several times for the people in her office, and they always say, “That potato salad is ridiculous!” It’s true. It is a potato salad to top all other potato salads.
Anyway, there wasn’t a drop of my Chopped Spring Salad left to take home. It was highly regarded by all of the diners, and even turned one man into a Farmers Market believer. He exclaimed, “It’s just so incredibly fresh!” Indeed, my friends. That freshness will knock the socks off anyone who sinks their fork into it. The flavors were bright, crisp, and inviting. I could eat it all day long.
I hope that this post finds you enjoying life and every bit of springy wonderment. Feel free to use this salad recipe as a template to create your own spring masterpiece! Utilize whatever is fresh and colorful and grown close to home. You’ll taste the difference in every bite.
Happy cooking and eating to you,