Posted by: A Part of the Solution | June 7, 2010

Mid-Spring Salad

Our buddy, Ed Mueller, came over for dinner and a long natter last night. I had to pry him away from his time in the garden. Ed grows ALL his own veggies these days. I love having Ed over. The last time, I made a Leek and Parsnip Soup for dinner that rocked. And I made it with the leeks and parsnips he brought with him.

When I convinced Ed to hit us up for dinner, I geared up and made a lovely Gypsy Soup with Ricotta Cornbread. I made shortcake for dessert, since I had a quart of strawberries sitting in the fridge and a box of ice cream sitting in the freezer. I waited to find out what the first course of our meal would be.

I figured I would use whatever Ed brought with him. Just like those cooking shows where the contestants open a basket to find out what their mystery ingredients are, and then they have to hustle to get something yummy and appealing onto the table. I love cooking like that. It’s the obverse of my control-freak-in-the-kitchen nature. Possibly being controlled makes me good at responding quickly to unknown quantities and qualities.

Ed brought snow peas with him. And tiny new beets–both red and gold (though he told me they’d come from the same seed packet). There were a couple varieties of baby carrots, one with purple streaking and one that was yellow. There were radishes, of course. And there were baby onions and garlic scapes–a big bag of the scapes, doncha’ know. and chervil, lots of chervil.

I didn’t use the baby onions, but this is what I did make

Mid-Spring Salad and Dressing

For the dressing:

2 radishes, chopped

2 garlic scapes, broken into pieces– use garlic chives (15-20) or green onions (1 large, 2 small) if these aren’t available

10 sprigs fresh chervil

1 TBSP cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 TBSP olive oil

2 1/2 TBSP canola oil

For the salad:

12 baby beets, with 1 inch of stem left on, unpeeled

12 baby carrots, trimmed top and bottom, unpeeled

1/2 lb. snow peas, string and cap removed

Dressing: put the radishes, the scapes, the chervil, salt, pepper and the vinegar into a mini-processor or blender and give them a good pulping. The mixture should be relatively smooth, thick and pale green in color. Add the oils and whirl away. Let this stand whilst preparing the veggies.

Salad: cover the baby beets with water, put a lid on the pot. Bring them to a boil, reduce heat to a moderate simmer and let them cook through–15 to 20 minutes if they’re really small, longer if they aren’t. Drain and cool them under running water. The peels should slip right off. Cut into bite sized pieces. Cook the carrots the same way, but they’ll only need about 10-15 minutes. Don’t peel them, they’re too small and there wouldn’t be much left if you did. Cook the snow peas the same way, but they’ll only want 5 minutes at a simmer, since they’re yummier with some crunch left. Cut them in half and add to the other veggies.

Combine dressing and veggies. Serve to acclaim!

 PS put the baby beet greens into the soup, so delicious!

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