Just like clockwork, when spring started showing itself around the Pacific Northwest, something akin to an alarm went off in my head saying, “it’s time to obsess over a springy salad.” I’ll be generous and say my “internal alert” was attributed to the arrival of fresh spring produce, rather than, ahem, the impending doom of swimsuit season after* a frightful pandemic (during which I ate and drank my fears and feelings like every other decent human being). However, I did eat a few greens during my quarantine months, and recently I started adding handfuls of herbs to my salads (thank you for the tip, Alison Roman). I have come realize how much more interesting the “green” part of a salad can be – granted, what would a pile of greens be without a tasteful amount of salt and a flouncy dressing. And although this might be an unpopular opinion, for heaven’s sake, don’t bake your fancy sheep feta. Save it for an occasion such a this, pure and unadulterated, shining on a salad in it’s chilled brine-y glory (yes, I am referring to the recent, viral trend of baking feta with cherry tomatoes). Give this spring salad a try, if nothing else it will rekindle your love for the oft-forgotten simplest of salad dressings, the two-ingredient fresh lemon and olive oil.
*I realize we are not yet in the “after” of the pandemic, though it feels like we are getting closer!
HERBY SPRING SALAD WITH WATERMELON RADISH, AVOCADO, SNOW PEAS, AND FETA
makes 2 large salads or 4 side salads
3-4 oz tender greens, rinsed and blotted dry (I used a blend of sweet pea leaves, baby greens, and watercress)
1-1.5 cups fresh herbs, lightly chopped (I used a blend of chives, oregano, tarragon, and mint, but pick whatever kinds you prefer)
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup snow peas, sliced lengthwise
1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon radish, shaved thinly with a vegetable peeler*
1/2 an avocado, sliced
2 poached eggs, optional
4 oz French sheep feta, crumbled (if possible, get the kind that comes as a block of feta soaking in brine and crumble it yourself)
sprinkling of sunflower seeds or toasted pine nuts
sprinkling of hemp seeds, optional
flaky salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (I typically use 1/4 of a lemon per salad)
extra virgin olive oil, to taste (good quality if possible)
optional: for an even heartier salad, add meat or another protein of choice, like grilled chicken or tempeh
- Divide your greens between two** large dinner plates and top evenly with the fresh herbs. Add to each salad half of the: green onions, snow peas, shaved watermelon radish, avocado, poached eggs, and sheep feta. Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds (or toasted pine nuts), hemp seeds, flaky salt, and black pepper.
- Right before eating, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top of each salad and drizzle with olive oil.
*cut the radish into quarters and carefully shave thin pieces off the flat sides
** if you want to make 4 side salads, use the same ingredients and divide between 4 side plates instead of 2 dinner plates