My Farmers Market Salad is all about building complex flavors with all-natural, freshly harvested, raw ingredients straight from local growers. When dressed with the bright flavors of sweet citrus in my Blood Orange Vinaigrette, this summer salad is a delicious combination.
Summertime is in full swing, and around the Graham house, we tend to eat light. Sometimes Rox and I will fix an entire dinner and never even fire up the stove or grill. Why heat up the kitchen when it’s hot enough outside? Eating raw off the land is a treat for us, and this salad is a revelation–the perfect expression of farm-to-plate freshness.
First off, it’s simple (except for spiralizing and marinating the beets)–kale, lettuce, carrot, tomato, onions, fruits, herbs, and radish—and it’s fresh from the soil. I love the earthy flavors, the crunch of uncooked vegetables and the sweet kiss from the blood orange dressing. This salad can be the main course on its own or topped with grilled seafood.
Before you think this is all about healthy eating (it is), once you taste this combination, you’ll clearly understand the burst of bright flavors that make this salad irresistible. Just one visit to a farmers market or roadside farm stand and you’re locked and loaded with everything you need to produce a salad that’s simple, delicious, creative, and perfectly seasonal.
For the base, tender red leaf lettuce is a tasty alternative to romaine or iceberg, and when mixed with frilly, raw kale, it is the perfect contrast. The colorful baby carrots and tangy red onion slices are delicious eaten raw and provide just the crunch needed. We especially love the watermelon radishes—sliced paper-thin—that give a peppery punch to the mix–the perfect counterpoint to the sweet Louisiana strawberries. Oh, and did I mention the beets?
Beets are generally a love it or hate it thing, and there was a time I detested them. You see, back in my younger years, beets came out of a can (or jar) drowned in a sugary pickled brine. Disgusting stuff, for sure. But in the past few years, I’ve rediscovered fresh beets (red and yellow), and I’ve cooked them in a variety of ways. But with this salad, I’ve chosen to cut them into spirals, introduce them to a marinade which amps up the flavor and preserves the fresh crispness of the vegetable. Even more convenient, in my recipe the spiraled beets are marinated in the blood orange vinaigrette. Refrigerated for a couple of hours or even a couple days ahead, they will sweeten and soften without losing their raw texture.
Trust me, you are in for a welcome treat this summer with a salad bursting with the bright, bold flavors of locally sourced ingredients. I promise you will discover new tastes, and you will enjoy the satisfaction of eating close to the Earth.
- ¼ cup blood orange juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Creole mustard or coarse grain mustard
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
- 3 large red beets, peeled and spiralized
- 2 bunches baby carrots, peeled
- Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 heads red leaf lettuce
- 1 bunch red kale
- 2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch round radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 large red onions, peeled and sliced
- 3 blood oranges, sliced
- 8 ripe strawberries, halved
- 6 small tomatoes
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 4 stalks green onion
- 4 sprigs fresh mint
- In a small mixing bowl, add the orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard. While whisking, drizzle enough olive oil (about ¾ cup) into the container until it begins to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
- Place the spiralized beets and the baby carrots in a non-metallic bowl. Pour over the Blood Orange Vinaigrette and toss the vegetables in the dressing. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days ahead.
- On each of 4 large plates, add a base of red leaf lettuce and kale. Remove the bowl containing the beets and carrots and strain off the vinaigrette into a serving bowl. Add the beets and carrots to the plates. Place portions of the radishes, red onion, orange slices, strawberries, and tomatoes on each of the salads. Add the basil, green onion and mint. Sprinkle with salt and a grind of pepper.
- Chill the salads in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with the dressing and more ground pepper on the side.
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