Two Seasonal Salads for Late Spring + Early Summer

Seasonal salads are the best kind: they require little effort on the chef’s behalf to make them taste good, the fresh-picked produce does the work for you. I made two seasonal salads (be ready for a lot more coming this summer, God willing)  paired with simple dressings that honestly taste good on anything.

do you love a seasonal salad?! so do I! here are some great ways to showcase late spring/early summer produce

Pinebud and Buttercrunch Salad

Does anyone here get really bad seasonal headaches? To the point of almost being migraines? Every spring, I get a slew of headaches that kind of knock me off my feet for a bit. I feel dizzy and nauseated and sleepy. They last for about a week or two, and then they pass.

Last week was a headache week.  I felt too sick to run, but I did manage a walk every day. Since I was moving a lot slower, I noticed a lot more. I saw that the pines (which I think were silver pines, but can’t be sure) were sprouting brand new needle bundles.

do you love a seasonal salad?! so do I! here are some great ways to showcase late spring/early summer produce

Maybe it was the wooziness from the headache, but the pine buds looked….good. They looked so tender and green and fresh. I clipped back home to get my phone to check if they were edible — they were — and a collecting bowl. They tasted more bitter than I expected, but after blanching, the bite loosened significantly. There were still some sharp notes, but they tasted as you might expect. Fresh. Sylvan. Resoundingly green.

I tossed them into a salad with some things I had in the fridge — sweet carrots and fennel, to mellow out the remaining piney edge — and buttercrunch lettuce. Topped it off with some kasha for a little extra texture,and I was done. The dressing is nothing more than your classic lemon juice and olive oil mix, a little mustard, molasses, and garlic.

I found that the smallest pine buds tasted the best — the ones that were under an inch or so. Hurry up and go pick ’em before they get any bigger. This kind of taste only lasts for a short time.

do you love a seasonal salad?! so do I! here are some great ways to showcase late spring/early summer produce

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Pinebud and Buttercrunch Salad

  • 1 head of buttercrunch lettuce
  • 1 small fennel bulb, fronds and all
  • 2-3 medium carrots, ribbon cut with a regular peeleror julienned with a julienne peeler
  • handful of kasha
  • 1 cup of pine buds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 medium garlic clove, grated on a microplane
  • salt to taste
  1. Clean the lettuce and pat dry
  2. Slice the fennel bulb thinly with a spiralizer or mandoline, and separate the soft fronds form the stem
  3. Toss together the carrots, lettuce, the fennel, and the fronds.
  4. Bring some water to a boil in a small pan. Throw in the pine buds for 15 seconds, the rinse in cold water right away to stop cooking.
  5. Add pine buds to prepared salad, top with kasha
  6. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, molasses, white sugar, mustard powder, and garlic.  Add salt.
  7. Divide salad among two bowls, serve with love. Dressing on the side.

Fried Ramps with French Breakfast Radishes and Spring Shoots

do you love a seasonal salad?! so do I! here are some great ways to showcase late spring/early summer produce

I’m so excited because our town farmer’s market finally opened! When I lived down in Raleigh, the farmer’s market was open year round, but up here in Ohia it’s only around in the summer and fall. No matter — I get my fill when I can. Since it’s only the first week, not very many vendors were there and I only bought four things: ramps, French breakfast radishes, and two kinds of shoots. Pea shoots, which are always delicious, and sunflower shoots, which I’d never had before. They were really good and nutty, like arugula without the bitterness. When you go to make this salad, don’t drive yourself nutso trying to track down these exact shoots — just use whatever seasonal shoot your market has.

do you love a seasonal salad?! so do I! here are some great ways to showcase late spring/early summer produce

I have been hunting ramps all spring long and haven’t found any, clearly I haven’t been looking in the right places. What a noob. Lucky for me, some folks at the market were selling some late-season ramps that they’d collected from their acreage. I felt a twinge of guilt for handing over cash for something that you can get for free, but…no wait, that’s a lie. I wanted those ramps. And darn it they were good.

I fried them up in my new pan that I got for freeeeee. Jason’s Uncle Jeff works at a fancy home and kitchen retailer, and they were actually going to discard this gorgeous floor display set of pots and pans. Jeff knows how much I like to cook so he rescued them for me. I owe him big time. I looked up the price of the Dutch oven alone, and it was 100 bucks. I need to get him something else besides a card and homemade cookies. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

do you love a seasonal salad?! so do I! here are some great ways to showcase late spring/early summer produce

Fried Ramps with French Breakfast Radishes and Spring Shoots

  • 1 small bundle of French breakfast radishes (about 16 of them), cut lengthwise
  • 2 cups of spring shoots of choice (I used pea shoots and sunflower shoots)
  • 2 bundles of ramps (about 15-20 ramps), greens and all, roots removed
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 of a thinly sliced jalapeno
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • salt to taste
  • coconut oil, for frying the ramps
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut to strips and toasted or fried
  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, almond butter, jalapeno, brown sugar, and celery seed. Let sit for about five minutes and then strain out the jalapenos. Add salt to taste.
  2. Melt a little coconut butter in a nice shiny pan over medium high heat. Add the ramps, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 min.
  3. Toss the ramps together with the shoots and radishes.
  4. Divide among two plates, sprinkle with tortilla strips, and serve with dressing on the side.

 

 

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