A Spring Salad

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Spring Salad

Yesterday, Niki and I visited the St Paul Farmers’ Market in Lowertown, chosen mainly for its coverage from the rain. Everywhere, it was pink and green–stalks of flushed rhubarb stacked in pyramids, scarlet globe and French breakfast radishes, baskets of sugar snap peas, and spring onions bundled next to bunches of pea shoots, their tendrils finely contained. We met some friends in Uptown later in the day, a part of the city we used to frequent as high schoolers, where my youngest brother now lives in his own apartment, and where, for the first time in history (in Minnesota, that is), the bartender did not ask for our i.ds.

Whenever I return to Minnesota after time away, I am struck by how visible I am, both by stepping into the family domain where regular attention is expected (of which is more refreshing than annoying until it is not anymore new), and by stepping into the street. In a bigger city, you’ve often got to knock into someone for him or her to look up, and in Seoul, even that won’t do it most of the time. Here, people will wave from fifty yards away, say hello and smile first if you catch eyes. More than once I’ve been startled enough to stop and look behind me before returning the greeting, realizing it was actually for me. I grew up here, where the social niceties have not changed since then, but being away longterm for nearly thirteen years is enough to make the once-familiar look and feel foreign. At least for now, until I become that person across the street, waving to passersby, just because. Do you think?

We ate this salad for dinner last night before seeing Chef, the movie. (Watching movies! Something else I didn’t realize I missed. Obviously possible in Seoul, but for some reason, was just not a part of the regular. A small discovery, but still good). I’m a big believer that salads, especially green salads, are better written as guidelines than precise recipes, since the fun lies in selecting what you’ve got on hand, what’s in season, and what you like. Swap out any spring vegetables for those that are available where you are, and vary the quantities of each to suit you.

A Spring Salad

Pea shoots (one big bunch, washed, dried, and cut to manageable pieces)
Asparagus (blanched and chopped)
Sugar snap peas (trimmed and chopped)
Radishes (sliced thinly)
Spring onion (green parts chopped)
Basil leaves (torn in pieces)
Feta (or another salty cheese that crumbles, like ricotta salata)

Combine all ingredients but the feta and gently toss with any dressing you like. Add feta to the top of each salad.

Easy dressing:
White wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Measure a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to oil. Whisk oil with a dash of dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle in oil, and whisk again to emulsify.

  • suzi

    Jacqui! I know exactly what you mean! It took me a good month to stop feeling like people at the store, people on the sidewalk walking their dogs, people, people just people werent being intrusive and asking for too much information…hello?? how are you?? what are you doing today??? Have you bla di bla di bla…..these strangers…this conversing?!?
    Haha, hope you are well xx

    • Jacqui

      Suz! The language bubble was thicker than we thought? We’ve become harder? What’s the deal? I miss you.