Winter Radish Salad
Feta, Kalamata Olive, Frisée, Baby Celery, Upland Cress
Dressed with Fresh Lime Juice & Olive Oil
It was difficult to resist all those colorful heirloom radishes…and the frilly heads of frisée, hydroponically grown long thin stalks of baby celery and the delicate lime green leaves of upland cress too. While strolling the outdoor aisles of the Torrance Farmers Market – a crunchy, peppery, chromatic winter salad began to take shape.
Watermelon radish – an heirloom Chinese daikon – is a stunner with its white and green shoulders and vibrant fuchsia interior. The taste is mild with almond-sweet notes. Purple radishes – a Korean radish hybrid – are small and plump with a gorgeous violet ring around striated white flesh. They are far more peppery than the watermelon variety. I chose watermelon and purple radishes for their visual appeal and different flavor profiles.
Frisée, baby celery, upland cress, and chives make up the green elements of this winter salad. With a bittersweet flavor and unique frizzy texture, frisée adds character. Upland cress has pretty leaves with a pungent spicy flavor. The baby celery has an intense celery flavor concentrated in the leaves. Chives bring that mild classic onion flavor.
Wild strawberries and sweet little grape tomatoes have a particularly delightful affinity for each other. Their red color contrasts with the exotic greens. Radish brings peppery flavors while roasted sunflower seeds add salty flavors – eliminating the need for additional salt and pepper. Kimjaban, crunchy roasted seaweed takes the place of croutons while adding sweet and salty notes.
Dressing is not tossed with the salad mix, so the flower petals look fresh-picked and the seaweed retains its crisp texture. The dressing consists of three distinct high-quality oils – fruity olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and fiery chili oil that are balanced by aged balsamic vinegar. Using chopsticks, diners can coat the salad ingredients with the oils and vinegar. And they just may want to reserve a bit of the syrupy balsamic vinegar to pair with that last wild strawberry for a grand finale.
I simply cannot go to the Farmers Market without bringing home load of …everything green. Yesterday’s haul included tomatillos, asparagus, artichokes, raw pepitas, spinach, chervil, jalapeños, chervil, chives, little green tomatoes, sage, basil, tarragon, summer squash, thyme, marjoram. And probably more.
What shall I do with all this GREEN stuff? Pairing with pasta sounds good…but not all the produce can end up in the final dish. It has to be balanced, the herbs and other ingredients have to harmonize. Alas the tomatillos, summer squash & jalapeños will be saved for another day. Asparagus stays. I’ll use marjoram for pretty floral and subtle lemony notes, tarragon for its sweet anise-like spice, thyme for pungency and earthiness, and chervil for its bright green color and lacy texture.
Fresh Sea Urchin Meyer Lemon Juice, Single Varietal Olive Oil, Sea Salt
For me, the Farmers Market can be a dangerous place. No, not in the sense of personal safety, but hazardous for my wallet. Last weekend I came home with heirloom baby cherry tomatoes, wild arugula, avocados, fresh salmon. All intended for dinner that night. But also in the shopping bag were yu choy, epazote, unique baby red-speckled romaine, single varietal olive oil, a bottle of safe & organic pesticide purchased from the woman who invented it, and a live sea urchin harvested just down the coast off Dana Point. Impulse purchases.
Decades ago when sushi was just becoming popular here, a date took me out to a sushi bar. He warned, “Don’t order uni, it’s disgusting.” Months (or years?) later I tasted it, and could not believe what I had been missing! I was intoxicated with the exotic, mysterious gonads of a spiky purple sea creature. Over the years I’ve enjoyed uni sushi dozens of times, and have bought many little trays of fresh uni from the Japanese market for various dishes, but until last weekend, I had never handled nor cleaned a live sea urchin.
Sharing the joys of cooking with friends in my kitchen and through Taste With The Eyes is a pleasure and a passion. Should someone one day ask, “Hey Lori Lynn, do you know how to clean a sea urchin?” I want to be able to say, “Sure, let me show you.” And that’s why a live sea urchin ended up in my shopping basket…
Pan-Roasted King Salmon with White Truffle Cream Farmers Market Wild Arugula, Heirloom Baby Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado Pine Nuts, French Lentils, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Inspired by a trip to the Farmers Market, fresh king salmon was pan-roasted and served over organic French lentils seasoned with just a kiss of my Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette along with wild arugula, irresistible baby cherry tomatoes, lightly toasted pine nuts, and avocado.
The sauce is made with La Tartufata blended with creme fraiche which added a velvety nuance to the dish. A preserved truffle product from Gourmet Attitude, La Tartufata is an earthy intense white truffle cream. This dinner was a delightful marriage of earth, garden, and sea. It’s the third in a series of three meals, each featuring one of the preserved truffle goodies in the “Trio Boutique.” We especially liked dipping the little heirloom tomatoes in the truffle cream sauce…
You’ve heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store?” Well that kid was me this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market in Palos Verdes. If it looked tasty, I bought it. No restraint whatsoever. From Japanese eggplant to okra to heirloom tomatoes. And asatsuki, carrots, red serranos, beets, patty pan squash, spinach, garlic, Anaheim chiles, Thai basil, mitsuba…I had no plan, no recipe in mind. I was simply vegetable-crazy.
8-layer farmers’ market fantasy
curried fresh carrot juice sauce with blanched okra & mitsuba
grilled green & yellow patty pan squash
sautéed spinach with sesame, garlic, soy sauce
crispy polenta cake
fire-roasted anaheim chile
fresh goat cheese & asatsuki
cumin dusted grilled beet
spicy smoky heirloom tomato & thai basil
roasted japanese eggplant, maldon smoked sea salt flakes