Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Put a Spin on Salads

I'm a fan of salads, but I use that term very cautiously.  A bowl of greens with dressing is not a salad.  Even more so, a bowl of ground meat, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, wonton strips or tortillas is definitely not a salad.  While I'm not looking for a plethora of ingredients, I do want something complimentary, creative and inspiring.  In an effort to up my vegetable intake (and lower calories), over the next few weeks, you can expect a few new, exciting salad suggestions to help you brighten up your plate.

I think the first key to building a salad is to think seasonally.  The freshest, most delicious and least expensive vegetables are going to be what's currently in season.  Think about it, the shortest distance that an ingredient has to travel, the less cost is involved in getting it to your plate.  If farmers markets are an option in your area, I highly recommend checking one out.  You can get some incredible deals on beautiful produce and you get to support a small local business in the process.  Most towns have them from May through October so check one out this spring and make a day out of it.  If you're in the greater Boston area, check out the SoWa market every Sunday - it's an amazing collection of famers, food producers, artists and food trucks.

Watermelon Radish Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

1 finely diced shallot
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 heads of romaine (dark green outer leaves, not hearts), cut into 1/2 strips
2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced (I recommend using a mandolin)
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

- In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, lemon and vinegar
- Gently stir in the avocado, let stand for 10 minutes
- Taste your dressing at this point and add the salt and pepper to your liking
- Whisk in the olive oil slowly to emulsify the vinaigrette
- In a large bowl, combine romaine, radish and cilantro
- Toss gently with the vinaigrette and adjust the seasoning to taste

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