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First Salad of the Season

By Judith Hausman, Urban Farm contributor

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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Photo by Judith Hausman

Spring salads may not have a lot of bulk, but they sure can have a variety of spring flavors.

We all feel starved for fresh, invigorating vegetables in the early springtime, and those first, local salads of the season are so welcome. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some overwintered spinach at your local farmers market; and since tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are still months away (except for those raised in the greenhouse), we have to be creative with the chosen additions to the greens. 

Especially with a bacon-based dressing, wilted salad is kind of a retro pleasure; it bridges the seasons with warm dressing, which can also soften tougher greens. I use a simple balsamic vinaigrette with a little honey and substitute prosciutto for the heavier bacon. You can experiment with hazelnut oil or sherry vinegar with mustard for the dressing, too. Try making the dressing in a pan by briefly sautéing the garlic, onion and prosciutto with some mushrooms in the olive oil and then adding the other ingredients (except the cheese). Later in the season, you can also try the dressing on beet greens and chard.

Garnish the salad with hardboiled eggs; slices of avocado; walnuts; sections of an orange or grapefruit; grated, cold-stored apples, carrots or beets; fancy spring mushrooms; a scattering of beans; or a handful of dried cranberries. 

Wilted Spring Salad

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound spinach, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut in rings
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, cut in strips 
  • 1/4 cup Gorgonzola or feta, crumbled or Parmesan, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
PREPARATION

Wash and dry the spinach thoroughly and place in a salad bowl. In a small saucepan, gently warm the olive oil, garlic, onion, vinegar and honey for 7 to 10 minutes to soften the onion. Pour the warmed dressing over the spinach and top with the prosciutto and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, toss and serve immediately with suggested garnishes above.

You might also enjoy these Locavore Recipes:

Spring Salads

Fennel Salad

Read more of Locavore Recipes »

 

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Looks good
a', Houston, TX
Posted: 11/3/2013 2:55:42 AM

About the Blogger

Judith Hausman

Judith Hausman
As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City 'burbs.

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