Are you feeling it? …………… a whispered promise of Spring? …………… it’s in the air! And though today was a crisp, chilly Carolina day, when a down jacket and warm woolen scarf felt just perfect, there are many assurances that old man Winter is on the verge of passing his icy baton to a lovelier, more gracious player
Just yesterday I noticed, with great delight, my blueberry bush, all covered with tiny pale blossoms, definitely a sign of delicious warmer days to come ………………
Yes, it’s coming, for sure, and as I mentally prepare for bare feet, flip flops, short sleeves and sunscreen, I’m also getting psyched up in a culinary sense. I’m dreaming of delightful spring and summer produce soon to be abounding in local markets …………….. I can hardly wait to get re-aquainted after a long winter respite. Though we enjoy salads all year long , a hint of Spring in the air and lovely fresh ingredients piled high at green markets and farmer’s stands ………….. well, let’s just say they send me into salad making nirvana!
I hope you enjoy this delicious betrothal-of-Spring salad as much as we did. The greens are sweet and tender with lovely butter lettuce and cilantro. Thinly sliced ribbons of baby boy choy give a crisp crunch along with a nice green contrast. Sliced cucumber and avocado add more layers of deliciousness and texture. Sweet blackberries, as you can see, make the salad just pretty as a picture!
The dressing is the crowning glory though for this fabulous salad. Bright green, fresh and flavorful describe it perfectly. With basil*, lemon juice, rice vinegar, ginger and honey as the featured stars, the vinaigrette perfectly compliments the vibrant green salad. I’m serving this tonight with pan-seared salmon but it can also stand alone for lunch with crusty warm bread or a bowl of soup. It would make a family dinner quite special and would have no problem gracing the table for your fanciest guests.
- Ingredients for the vinaigrette:
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh finely grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup canola oil
- Ingredients for the salad:
- 6-8 cups butter lettuce
- 3 small baby bok choy, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ medium English (seedless) cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 medium avocado, cored, peeled, quartered lenthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- ½ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- ½ pint blackberries
- ½ cup toasted, salted cashew halves
- For the vinaigrette, combine all vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Puree mixture until smooth.
- With motor running slowly add both oils. If too thick add a bit of water.
- Taste and season with a bit more salt and pepper if needed
- For the salad, combine butter lettuce, boo chou and cilantro leaves in a medium size bowl.
- Divide evenly onto 4 salad plates.
- Scatter with the cucumber, avocado, red onions and blackberries.
- Drizzle each salad lightly with vinaigrette. Pass extra vinaigrette at the table.