It’s so wonderful to have an abundance of fresh delicious produce again. Just seems like a few weeks ago that we locavores were subsisting on potatoes and the last dredges of canned goods. The sight of plump ruby red strawberries at the Headhouse Market nearly made me weak in the knees. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares in sensual eating to the first bite of a juicy, ripe, just-picked strawberry. At least that’s the way I feel about it.
Helping out at the Weavers Way Farm table at the Headhouse Market was like going home. I’d missed it more than I even knew: the energy generated by shoppers and farmers all focused on freshly harvested food. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I could load up on all sorts of glorious greens and some asparagus.
I picked up a few more bunches of the edible chrysanthemum to try mixed in with the other salad greens I procured. I thought the zing and tenderness of the chrysanthemum might contrast nicely with the edgier endive and smooth butter lettuce. And, of course, my dear old friend kohlrabi got tossed in the shopping sack. I actually had a great time “pushing” the kohlrabi at the farm’s table. So many people hadn’t ever seen it before, asking questions about how to use it. If you hadn’t guessed, I love answering question about how to prepare unusual fresh vegetables.
I was more than a little giddy by the end of my afternoon at the market, both from the fun of it and from several hours of staring at potential food without eating any of it (okay, I might have eaten about half of my quart of strawberries, but that just fueled my hunger more). As soon as I got home, I pulled out everything from my sack and eyed it up. A salad was definitely in order.
I got the notion of a strawberry vinaigrette as I washed up the chrysanthemum, thinking it’d put a nice sweet note behind the somewhat tart flavor of the mum leaves. All of you should be proud of me. For the first time ever in the history of this blog, I actually thought to write down what I was doing as I was throwing things in the blender. Usually when I make something entirely up as I go along, I have to make intelligent guesses later as to what exactly happened in the process. Don’t worry, it’s not that often that I don’t go into a recipe with something already scribbled out. And taking so many pictures along the way helps out my memory tremendously.
Record keeping practices aside, the vinaigrette was a wild success. I can’t take credit though. Really, how could I go wrong with those amazing strawberries as a foundation. And their sweetness was the perfect offset to the zing of the chrysanthemum, so much so that I went ahead and made the salad again the next day because I was craving that flavor duet again.
Speaking of salads, in “garden news alerts”, I had my first harvest this week. It consisted of a handful of heirloom lettuce mix, nasturtiums, chive blossoms and a few shreds of basil. So good! The only thing I could have wished for was more of that strawberry vinaigrette!
Spring Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
A Straight from the Farm Original
1 medium kohlrabi
1 small head of endive
1 small bunch of edible chrysanthemum
1 head of butter lettuce
1 C. strawberries, hauled and halved
2 T. honey (add more to taste if needed)
¼ t. dried marjoram
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. brown mustard
½ t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of rose water (optional)
½ C. vegetable oil
Begin by making the vinaigrette: combine all the ingredients except the vegetable oil in a blender. Process until combined. With the blender running, slowly add the oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Place in a jar and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to two weeks.
To make the salad, thoroughly wash the greens and tear into bite size pieces. Let drain in a colander while you peel the kohlrabi. Cut the kohlrabi into thin sticks and toss with the greens.
Just before serving, assemble the salad by heaping it on a serving plate or bowl, adding strawberry slices, almond slivers, and a generous drizzle of vinaigrette.
(salad serves 4, vinaigrette makes about 2 cups)