Blanched Vegetable Salad with Basil Parsley Vinaigrette

parsley basil vinaigeretteGreen beans, new potatoes, fava beans, and basil are all ingredients that delight me when they begin to show up at the market. Living in the midwest, I used to feel that it was finally summer when I saw corn and tomatoes. Here in Washington, it’s the green beans that I wait for. And this year, at the beginning of this season, I discovered a new delight. Have you tried the parsley from Tani Creek? It’s like none other. You’ll want to add it to dishes as a main ingredient, not just a garnish, as it is often relegated. Adapted to our climate, this “awesome tasty” heirloom variety has a pedigree which you can read about on the farm’s website while you peruse their seeds for sale.

Here’s a spunky salad that features parsley prominently. (Feel free to substitute it for the basil entirely.) It does take a bit of time to prepare. Think of it as a potluck show off dish. Or, make a big bowl of it on Sunday and smugly take it for a hearty lunch all week.

Salad:
1 pound new potatoes
1 pound green beans
1/2 pound fava beans (That’s the weight for the beans after being removed from pod.)
6 slices crispy ham, optional (See note.)

  1. Put a medium sized pot of water on to boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.
  2. Wash and slice potatoes into about 1 1/2 inch pieces. (If very small, you may not need to cut the potatoes. Yum!)
  3. Add potatoes to boiling water. Salt. Cook for 25 minutes.
  4. While your potatoes are cooking, attend to your green beans. Take the ends off the green beans and cut into large bites, about 2 inches long.
  5. Prepare fava beans by removing large beans from pods.
  6. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove potatoes to ice water bath. When cold, remove potatoes and place on a dishtowel. Pat dry.
  7. In the same water, boil green beans for 2-3 minutes, tasting to see if they are the consistency you might like. Follow the same procedure as the potatoes – ice water, then towel.
  8. For this dish, boil fava beans for 2 minutes. After chilling, remove the skins.
  9. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and pour vinaigrette over. Add crispy ham, if using.

Vinaigrette:parsley basil vinaigerette
1/4 c. fresh parsley leaves, packed
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tbls. champagne vinegar (or other gentle, white vinegar)
2 tsp. mustard
2 garlic scapes (or one large clove of garlic)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
a few grinds of pepper

Add all ingredients to food processor and process until smooth.

Notes:

  • We always pick up a ration of Hitchcock Deli meat for the week – turkey, beef, ham, bacon. Occasionally we might be overzealous in our order and have a little leftover at the end of the week. Crispy ham is a remedy to this problem. Take ham that’s been in your fridge for awhile, crisp it up at 450F for 5-6 minutes and voila – a yummy crunch for pasta, eggs, or salad.
  • Feel free to play and add other seasonal veggies that you might prefer, of course.

 

Creamy lemon mint salad dressing

creamy mint salad with blueberriesBaby lettuces from our deck garden. Mint foraged from between the weeds in the front yard. Island blueberries. What a refreshing summer salad!

salad greens, washed and dried
the juice of 1 lemon (1 tbls.)
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 c. half and half
about 2 tbls. chopped fresh mint
a handful of blueberries

 

  1. In a jar with a lid, shake salt and lemon until the salt is dissolved.
  2. Add half and half. Shake.
  3. Mix mint with salad greens.
  4. Toss your desired about of dressing with salad greens.
  5. Top with berries.

Spring Salad with Radishes and Scapes

Due to a household miscommunication, we seem to have a lot of radishes growing in the garden. (“Wait, I thought you loved radishes!”) Now, it’s time to figure out what to do with this enthusiastic crop. Our French Breakfast radishes are zesty and beautiful – a great addition to any salad. I’m also intrigued to try radishes in less traditional ways, including this recipe which uses them as a topping for risotto.

head of lettuce
handful of sugar snap peas
3 garlic scapes
5-6 radishes

1 tsp. lemon zest
1 sprig fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 clove garlic

2 tbls. lemon juice
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
2 tbls. water
scant 1/4 c. olive oil

  1. Wash, trim, and chop lettuce. Thinly slice peas. Trim and grate the radishes. Mince garlic scapes.
  2. On your cutting board, mound zest, oregano, salt, and garlic clove. With a chef’s knife, chop ingredients together. Mash with the side of your knife periodically and continue chopping. This should result in a nice paste. (You can also use a mortar and pestle.)
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, water, and oil. Whisk in paste. (I like to do this in a glass jar. You can store your vinaigrette in here and easily shake it up later if it needs to be mixed again.
  4. When ready to serve, toss veggies and vinaigrette together.

Purslane? Yes, You Can Eat It!

Almost each week, we are lucky to find an unexpectedly new vegetable in our CSA box. This week, we held up the abundant bag of purslane and scratched our heads. What was this?? Gourmet suggested that we cook it, but the other ingredients on our countertop convinced us to make this Purslane and Parsley Salad, found on Epicurious.

We made this great salad to take with us to Farmstock and munched it listening to Dan Tyminski’s furious “picking.” It was light, refreshing, and easy to make. Though it’s a little time consuming to pull the leaves off the purslane, the recipe’s 30 minute preparation time is a bit of an exaggeration. (We’d also recommend chopping the parsley a little more finely.)

Purslane grows wild in many places, so if you don’t spot any at the farmer’s market, get out there and forage!