I set myself a challenge. Every season there would be a salad on the menu, but it needed to be a composed salad, not a tossed green salad. I was really keen to make a beet salad with goat cheese this fall. It’s a fine line between classic and clichéd, so I wanted to make it in a way that I hadn’t done before.
I was really struck by the Beet Salad with Chèvre Frais in the Eleven Madison Park cookbook. Most of all I liked the presentation, with perfect rounds of sliced roasted beets arranged on the plate, and pops of colour and texture placed artfully around and among them. I played with this a lot over the … Continue reading.
Recently I was shocked to discover that many people have bad childhood memories of “creamy” coleslaw. I was raised on chopped cabbage in mayonnaise, a creamy slaw that we called cabbage salad. Many detest this side dish so much that they have given up slaw all together.
I’d like to vouch for a different style of coleslaw, one that has more in common with the German Krautsalat than the classic mayo-bound North American slaw.
The main difference is that it’s dressed in a vinaigrette, instead of mayonnaise or buttermilk. But before we discuss dressing, there’s a very important technique to consider.
Lightly Curing Cabbage for Slaw
There are very few vegetables that I truly enjoy raw. Good carrots, radishes, and … Continue reading.
…I was gladdened to find, at last, hard scientific evidence that lettuce is an unsuitable food and that a craving for lettuce is evidence of a diseased brain.
-from Jeffrey Steingarten’s essay Brain Storm
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
For many chefs there is a discrepancy between what they want to serve and what will please their customers. As a chef I want to take seasonality seriously, but in most restaurants the owners and clientele find it unacceptable to not offer a green salad, even in the dead of winter. I deeply resent this.
Don’t misunderstand me: I like green salads. They’re refreshing. Personally, I like … Continue reading.
At left is the first harvest from the yard, largely rhubarb and dandelions.
Describing dandelions as “edible” is misleading. The term suggests that they should only be eaten in survival situations. (Would you ever describe spinach, or cheese, or pork, as merely “edible”?)
In reality, dandelions are a treasured leafy green in several European cuisines. They even have an entry in Larousse. Some excerpts from that article:
- “the English name is derived from the alternative French name dent-de-lion (literally ‘lion’s tooth’, referring to its serrated leaves)”
- “Wild dandelion leaves should be picked before the plant has flowered…, when they are small and sweet.” This line confuses me a bit. While our dandelion leaves are definitely better when small and
… Continue reading.