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.
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.
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.
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.
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.