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Welcome Spring with this Spectrum Salad

Spectrum Salad
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Using color in food to stimulate the senses is a must.  We eat with our eyes first.  Consider not only flavor, but color and texture as the forefront to your dish.  You may be surprised at how appealing it is to eat a plate of vegetables.

This salad contains a variety of produce and uses different methods of preparation to create an interesting, layered approach to vegetables.  Blanched, marinated, pickled and raw –you will love your vegetables after this.  Remember, this recipe is only a guideline.  If you feel other vegetables calling to you, go for them!

Ingredients & Method (serves 2 large or 4 small salads)

For Marinated Beets:

  • 2 small golden beets, thinly sliced in circles
  • 2 small candy cane beets, thinly sliced in circles
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Combine all ingredients and marinate in a closed container for at least one hour.  The longer, the better.

For Blanched Snap Peas:

  • 1 cup snap peas
  • Water
  • Salt

Blanch snap peas in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes, until tender and bright green.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath.  Cut peas in half.

For Pickled Shallots:

  • 2 cups of shallots, in petals
  • ¾ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Place shallots in a bowl.  In a small pot, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Pour hot liquid over shallots and cover with another bowl or plate to make sure shallots are submerged.  Let cool to room temperature, transfer to a container and refrigerate for several hours.

For Pickled Fennel:

  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced medium-thick
  • 1 ½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ vanilla bean pod, split, bean paste loosened
  • 2 inches of lemon zest, pith removed
  • 1 star anise, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon peppercorns, toasted

Place fennel in a bowl with star anise and peppercorns.  In a pot combine vinegar, salt, sugar and vanilla bean.  Once liquid begins to simmer, add zest and bring to a full boil.  Pour liquid over fennel and place a bowl or plate over fennel to make sure it is fully submerged.  Bring to room temperature and transfer to a container.  Refrigerate for several hours.

For Popped Quinoa:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups oil for frying
  • Chile lime salt  (see recipe)

Heat oil to 350 degrees.  Drop quinoa in oil and fry until grains are popped and crispy.  Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with chile lime salt.

For remaining ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup opal or sweet basil
  • 1 watermelon radish, small dice
  • 1 black radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of baby kale
  • ½ avocado, diced

To assemble: 

Remove beets from marinating liquid and set aside.  Shake marinating liquid well and re-season with salt if necessary.  Lightly dress kale, radishes, snap peas, avocado, tarragon and basil with marinade.  Add beets and some pickled shallot and fennel and toss again.  Sprinkle with popped quinoa.

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