As Homer Simpson once taunted in a conga-esque voice, “You don’t win friends with salad. You don’t win friends with salad.” So if you’re tempted to skip reading this post because it sounds boring, let me say a couple of things in its defense: 1) It is the height of summer and grossly hot these days (well, grossly hot for me here in Seattle is when it gets over 80 degrees) so you may be like me and craving salads and their benefit of not heating up the kitchen; and 2) this salad is so refreshingly cool and crunchy it should not be missed.
I never used to give much thought to radishes until I saw the light at a Middle Eastern restaurant when I was in college in Chicago. One of many favorite dining establishments, John and I chose it for our joint graduation dinner when our families met for the first time. What made this place stand out for me was that it was standard for the restaurant to deliver a plate of whole radishes, a block of firm and tangy feta cheese, and a stack of toasted pita bread. The trick was to take a radish in its beautiful pink glory, still cold and crisp from the refrigerator, lightly sprinkle it with salt then carefully balance a bite of feta on it. Bite into the radish and you would have this amazing burst of pepper from the radish and salt from the feta, but it was all okay because of how the cool, watery radish would soothe you. Take that sensation and magnify the crunch and cool factor by 1000 and you have this salad.
I took crispy butter leaf lettuce, piled on pieces of crunchy snow peas, brightened the green with shards of purple beet radish, and rained down crumbles of feta. A sprinkle of dill mellowed the tang of the feta and tied all the flavors together. Believe me, you will definitely win friends with this salad.
Note: To prep snow peas, pinch the flowered end and peel down the straight side of the pod (where you can see that the peas are attached) to pull away a tough stringy fiber that is really unpalatable. This makes enough side salads to feed 2-4 people. You can substitute the champagne dressing with a lemony, red wine, or Dijon vinaigrette.
- 1 large head butter leaf lettuce, chopped or torn into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup of snow peas, trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces
- 1/4 cup champagne vinaigrette (yes, I used store-bought instead of mixing my own)
- 1 large purple beet radish, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slivers
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Wash and spin dry the lettuce and snow peas. Add to a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Plate the salad and top with pieces of radish, feta and a sprinkle of the dill. There, that was easy!
CSA Count: 4
Butter leaf lettuce, snow peas, purple beet radish, dill