Spring Salads and Dressings | WYPR

Spring Salads and Dressings

Apr 22, 2014

April 22, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - SPRING SALADS AND DRESSINGS

Spring is all about freshness, and the greens and salad fixings we are now seeing in the market are the epitome of that concept.  Salad making is to food what jazz is to music... it's all about inspiration, improvisation and going with the flow.  And so we thought it would be fun to hear a chef riff on this theme, and we invited Chef Ontaria Kirby of Clementine on the show.

Early in the spring is the time for salad greens of every kind:  lettuces, spinach, arugula, and that local favorite, ramps.  We are also seeing a lot of "baby" vegetables including summer squash, beets, carrots, plus savory produce like scallions, fennel, fiddlehead ferns, garlic scapes, nettles, pea greens, spring peas and radishes.  Early food is sweet because of the cold weather, which concentrates sugars well before they convert to starch in hot weather.  And of course that trio of classic spring food is out there:  strawberries, asparagus and rhubarb.

Chef Ontaria loves using these new ingredients to both build the salad and create the dressing.  One of her favorite recipes is a strawberry vinaigrette.  It's simply a matter of processing olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a half pound of trimmed strawberries, a few sprigs of tarragon, and a touch of sugar, salt and pepper.  Hit
the "blend" button, and bang, you're done!