Perfectionism has been getting in the way of this blog. I have been working on a German Chocolate Cake cookie that has gone through FOUR iterations, and it still has one last test to go. I’ve been missing writing, and I’ve been missing sharing recipes with you. (“You” meaning hopefully someone in addition to my mom.)
I’ve been obsessing about how to get that cookie right, (this seems to be a habit by now…) and along the way I forgot that sharing a simple salad recipe in the vein of Nigel Slater is sometimes enough. Do you know Nigel Slater’s books yet? They are so beautiful and give a sense of place without the visual clutter of unnecessary props and stylized backgrounds. His easy-going, natural prose draws me in each time I open Ripe or Tender, and Jonathan Lovekin’s photographs offer a sultry complement to Nigel’s (can I call you Nigel, Nigel?) personal recipes.
Other places to find the same lovely qualities are on Molly Wizenberg’s blog, Orangette and in Luisa Weiss’s blog The Wednesday Chef. They are all personal but not self-obsessed; open but not over-sharing. Plus, their photographs are moody and gorgeous. (I’m also a big fan of their memoirs, which you can find here and here, respectively.)
Anyway, have you ever read food writing that describes a food “as begging for” something? Like, the bread was begging to be toasted. The ramps were begging for a slick of olive oil. I have never heard my food beg me to do anything other than scarf it down with haste, but this is as close as it’s ever gotten to human-plant ESP.
Finally, fresh vegetables line the farmers’ market stalls, practically begging to be tossed into a fresh spring salad. Oops — did I say begging? Well like I said, magenta radishes, snappy asparagus stalks and fuchsia scallions got as close to a whisper in my ear that any food as ever gotten.
So yes, this recipe is easy. Slice the radishes, asparagus, and scallion thinly to let them soak in the olive oil and lemon juice. Play with the proportions as you like. More quinoa and add lettuce for a stronger salad vibe. Swap the blue cheese for goat cheese. You get it.
Lastly, a question for you: Do you like casual, easy recipes like this? Or are you looking for more specific directions. Please share your thoughts and comments below!
Raw Spring Salad with Asparagus and Radishes
Serves 1 to 2
4 radishes, thinly sliced
6 stalks asparagus, thinly sliced on the bias
1 small scallion, thinly sliced
A few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 to 15 mint leaves, torn
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 ounces soft blue cheese, crumbled
Toss the radishes, asparagus, and scallion in a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and the lemon juice and toss to coat. Add more olive oil if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper and fold in the mint leaves. Serve over cooked quinoa and dollop with blue cheese.