Intro

SPRINGY HERB SALAD
Serves 4 as a first course
The herb goat cheese goes beautifully with this salad.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons creme fraiche (optional)
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Stir all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
2 heads of butter lettuce, outer leaves removed
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup assorted whole fresh herb leaves (such as tarragon, chives, parsley, and cilantro)
4 oz herbed goat cheese (make your own by mixing in fresh herbs and 1 Tbl cream or use storebought)
Arrange washed and dried lettuce on a platter or in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing then garnish with radish, avocado and fresh herbs. Serve immediately

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Navy, mustard and gray. I have dubbed those my spring colors. A deep, golden-yellow t-shirt with delicate flowers framing the dipping “v” shape of the neck doesn’t have time to get replaced to the closet as I rarely take it off. My navy striped hoodie is typically worn on top as it’s not quite t-shirt season. For my feet, gray converse.

I have made it a mission of sorts to flood my Spring with as much of these colors as possible. In fact those three colors are setting the scene for my boys’ birthday party happening in a couple weeks. Gray striped paper straws, giant goldenrod balloons, and deep blue candies for decorating the cake. In fact this morning I did what any other visually obsessed mother would do and limited their painting palette to those three colors as we were crafting some of the party decor. My poor children were refused red. I need help.

Colors paint my seasons as new favorites emerge in sync with the delicate Spring blossoms or the warming Summer sun. As the colors and seasons change so does the food.

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While drenched head to toe in my current colors I am most likely eating this salad. It is my new favorite. And as with favorites I wonder how I ever lived without it and I can’t begin to imagine that I will ever stray from it. But I will. Another salad will come into my life as new produce comes to peak. I’ll trade in my favorite salad and I’ll find new colors.

But for now this is what’s hot right now and I am sticking to it.

It is a salad that Spring invented. A soft butter lettuce paired with thinly shaved radish, creamy avocado chunks, and a healthy handful of  fresh herbs. The more the merrier: chives, parsley, tarragon, dill, cilantro, basil, and cilantro. This salad has shed its heavy winter coating and replaced that with a light champagne vinaigrette made ever so creamy with a touch of creme fraiche.

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Cream is a fine replacement if creme fraiche is missing from your fridge. Sour cream is also viable. But I’ll tell you what, go pour yourself a cup of cream. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now add to that 2 Tbl buttermilk. No buttermilk? Do you have lemon juice? No. Vinegar? There you go. Okay, add some vinegar to the cream. Now leave it on the counter. In time (12 hours or so, most likely less) it will thicken and through the magic of bacteria (yum) you’ve made your very own creme fraiche. Now use for dressings, soups, ice cream making, potato toppings, pie accompanying, etc. Creme fraiche provides the luxury of cream with the delightful addition of a soft tang. It is a staple in my fridge.

continue for recipe …

Spring Herb Salad with Creme Fraiche Vinaigrette

Serves 4-6 as a first course

The choices of herb possibilities are completely up to you. I like to use quite a variety as it gives this simple salad interest and a new flavor in every bite.

Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

2 heads of butter lettuce, outer leaves removed

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 cup assorted whole fresh herb leaves (such as tarragon, chives, parsley, dill, basil, mint, and cilantro)

Arrange washed and dried lettuce on a platter or in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing then garnish with radish, avocado and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

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One last word from me (for now). I can’t even begin to tell you how honored and excited I am to say what I am about to say. Eeep. Saveur magazine (along with a nudging by you fine people) have nominated me for Best Food Photography. Crazy. Stunned. Happy. If you would be so kind as to vote I would LOVE it. (Just go to the BEST FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY category and click on the blog to place the vote). In the midst of that category are some dear friends and INCREDIBLE photographers, as I said, I am honored.

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29 Responses to “spring greens with creme fraiche vinaigrette”

  1. bianca

    I love spring, I am- year round- obsessed with salad; and now I can enjoy it freely, the way it was meant to be- free of beets and potatoes, and all green with the season!

    Also CONGRATS on the Saveur nom, what an honor!

    Reply
  2. tracy

    GASP!!! Look at those photos!! So worthy of being nominated!! Congrats, sweetie! This salad looks fantabulous!

    Reply
  3. MG Atwood

    Lovely images Ash. they jump right off the page! I want to dive into that salad…that is what spring is all about. Nice post. Oh, and I voted early

    Reply
  4. Michelle

    Yeah – so I totally nominated you so did hundreds of other faithful followers…. it might have been the fried pasta – or any thing else you have ever graced…. you totally deserve the nomination!

    Reply
  5. Sanjeeta kk

    Spring is here for sure when there is such a refreshing treat of veggies and herbs is there! Love the simple yet healthy recipe.

    Reply
  6. Two Barking Dogs

    I had a salad with a dressing like this years ago in a small restaurant inside a train station somewhere in the Alsace Region of France, the only thingdifferent, was their salad had no raddishes, but was topped with smoky crisp lardons and two small poached quail’s eggs.

    Thanks for that walk down memory lane!

    Reply
  7. Molly

    Mmm…a cup of creme fraiche hanging out in my fridge sounds like a wonderfully dangerous predicament to be in.

    Reply
  8. sara

    so pretty. Your pictures get better and better, a well deserved nomination, my friend. Excited to try this dressing!!

    Reply
  9. Amaranthian

    This post has wedged itself deep into my heart. Your writing is delicate and flowing, and this salad looks divine. I’ve been running with the same blah vinaigrette for months now (vinegar, olive oil, pinch salt and seasonings..); I simply can’t wait to throw something ‘crazy’ like creme fraiche and champagne vinegar into the mix. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  10. Anne Marie

    This looks so lovely. I posted a similarly inspired salad (Radish-Cilantro with a Meyer lemon cream vinagrette) a couple of days ago. I will have to try out yours too.

    Reply
  11. Andrew

    Wonderful pictures. Nomination much deserved. Looks like a great recipe. Can’t wait to give it a try as it well help me enjoy the rest of the season. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. alex

    Yes please. Made this salad dressing last night. You officially dragged me out of my salad dressing rut! Delicious. And gorgeous photographs too.

    Reply
  13. Cindy

    I made this dressing tonight, it was fabulous! Served it on spring greens, along with homemade pea soup and foccacia bread from my new Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day book – wonderful meal!

    Reply
  14. Laura

    I don’t know if I can eat this after watching that South Park episode :-/

    Reply

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