it has been a million years since i wrote about food so i am sharing another one of my favorite dressing tricks with you here today. i got this originally from an alice waters recipe for a fennel, radish, and dandelion green salad. but since then i have replicated it many times and i am pretty sure i have not stuck to her recipe. anyway, the salad is in her book vegetables which helped me through my first season doing my local farm csa for vegetables. it is full of interesting and yummy recipes for vegetables and also great information on what to buy and how to chose it if you are going to a local farmers market type set up.
for this impromtu recipe you need:
baby spinach or arugula or whatever green you like
salt & pepper
optional: radish or red pepper
anyway, here is what i do. simple simple and yummy yummy.
dice up some shallot as small as i can without worrying too much about the size.
squeeze in the juice of one lemon
now here alice asked us to macerate it that for 20 minutes. so obviously she is not home with two young kids. (no offense alice.) i have tried a few different things:
1. macerate for 20 mins while letting the bean macerate something else in his own bowl.
2. let the bean help me and we macerate together for as long as we can until it is getting too messy and there won’t be anything in the bowl for the dressing. then stop and let it sit for about 20 mins.
3. macerate on and off for 20 – 30 mins while the bean is playing another game.
honestly i haven’t found there to be a huge difference in flavor based on how much macerating i do. it helps to get the shallot pieces nice and small. it does help to bang them up in the lemon juice so they are kind of smooshed and the flavor is released. but, don’t kill yourself macerating or tell yourself you can’t do this because you don’t have time to macerate. just do your best.
i don’t really like shallots much, or any raw onion at all. so don’t let that stop you from trying this either. because the lemon juice kind of cooks the shallots and it just become this totally vibrant delightful flavor. nothing like just tasting raw shallots.
so while those shallots are just sitting there getting yummy lets make a salad. this dressing speaks so well to fennel it is a shame not to pair them when you try it.
so here will be the salad:
one fennel bulb washed. cut in half, and then cut into the thinnest half moon slivers you can produce.
an equal amount of your greens (i like baby spinach, or arugula, or something like that)
radish if you want – also cut as thin as possible (i tend to skip radish if i am buying from the store and use if i have from the farm)
if no radish maybe a red pepper. but just the fennel and greens is good too.
now your shallots have been sitting there for awhile. you want to add some olive oil – just enough to thicken it up some. lets say no more olive oil then there is lemon juice.
dress the salad right before you are ready to eat it. add salt and pepper to taste.
the salad goes really nicely with grilled chicken. yum, if i hadn’t already made it last night i’d be making it tonight.
if you do not like fennel (what is up with that? how can you not like fennel? try cutting it thinner. free your mind to the fennel.) you can put this dressing on any old salad. it is that good. i use it a fair amount and my mom is also a huge fan. i am visiting her again right now and it is one of the first things she mentioned me making.
ok now, go forth and macerate.
(next time i make this i’ll take pics and add them)
(if i remember)
(you may have to remind me)
(better yet – you take pics and send them to me and i’ll post them!)
i thought of two other things:
1. i added lemon zest to this last night because i am obsessed with lemon zest thanks to 101 cookbooks and it was a nice addition but not necessary. i could go either way with it.
2. shoot, i can’t remember. (obviously the kids didn’t sleep last night.)