Winter Salad

I’ve read a lot of articles about how winter salads are every bit as good as those you find in the summer. I’m still not sure I will ever like anything more than a salad of in-season tomatoes, baby greens, and a few shavings of local pecorino. But there are great salads to be had in the winter, even here on the East Coast. Windfall farms, at Union Square is a fairly expensive but excellent vendor of various radishes and sprouts year round. Most recently, I noticed beautiful watermelon radishes and sliced them thinly along with some blanched kale. With a simple vinaigrette, this is the base of a wonderful winter salad. I also use their gorgeous sprouts when they have them for garnishes at fancy dinner parties. Some of their produce is simply stunning.

Blanching or parboiling are not difficult cooking techniques. I use these methods for everything from winter greens to thinly sliced parsnips. I wonder if we got in the habit of boiling a small pot of salted water as soon as we got home, if we wouldn’t realize that we can eat a lot more veggies than we realized. If you happen to be on the East Coast, buy some root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, celery root, etc), chop them into small pieces and put them into your boiling water. Taste it after a minute and see if it’s too firm for you. If it is, let it go another minute. This is not hard to do. Toss the blanched vegetables with olive oil and vinegar and see what happens. I know I’ve started to enjoy the crunchiness of winter vegetable salads. Those vegetables are delicious and very good for you. They are also cheap. If you can commit to eating mostly root vegetable salads for a few weeks, you can save some cash for those heirloom tomatoes which will be here in a few months. And yes, I am counting the days. : )

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