Normally salad does not pop to mind much for me during the winter. I think we naturally begin to eat from seasonal cues and hearty, warm foods are what most appeal. However I’ve been craving the robust flavors and textures of cool weather greens.
When I took my first trip of 2012 to Jay Hill Farm January 4th, I was bowled over by the heady aroma of the herbs when opening the outdoor fridge where they are kept for pickup. A good nose full of dill, basil, and mint was just what the doctor ordered for post-holiday binge recovery and gave way to inspiration for some new salad ideas.
The greens I have access to right now are not lettuce (though I did find some last week and used the dressing from the Arugula Apple-Beet Candied Pecan salad I made last week which was great) and I’m determined to come up with new combinations other than cooking them. Out of that sentiment I now have my new favorite winter salad: Spicy Mustard Mint Mizuna salad. A mouthful of ‘M’s’ to say but a mouthful of flavor unrivaled.
I love arugula and mustard bears the same spicy bite as arugula. Jay Hill’s farmer, Rowan Rozanski shared the variety of mustard I used from her farm is called Osaka Purple Mustard but that the flavor of mustard is fairly consistent across all the different varieties.
Mizuna is a feathery green also with a very faint peppery flavor though is very mild compared to mustard.
The mint I used was a free starting crossbreed that tasted so good Rowan cultivated it. It has a great flavor between a peppermint and spearmint with notes of lemon Rowan noticed.
It’s impossible not get excited about food when cutting into heirloom carrot varieties. The Purple Dragon is my favorite. I love slicing into the deep burgundy carrot to reveal the yellow and orange core.
As I was making this and writing it down for print, I wondered, do you taste your food as you are preparing it? I think that is essential especially for raw foods. A mixed salad like this may play out differently to different taste buds and can be altered accordingly. I’m a big believer in making food your own so be sure to taste your greens and mix up the proportions how it suits you. Same goes for salad dressing.
SPICY MUSTARD MINT MIZUNA SALAD
Serves: 1 large personal salad or two side salads
· ¾ cup mustard greens, washed and torn
· 1 ½ cup mizuna, washed, torn with lower stems discarded
· ¼ cup mint, washed, leaves only (if using larger leaf mint, tear the leaves; if smaller can use leaves whole)
· ½ red Anjou pear, unpeeled, cored and cut in thin slices lengthwise
· 1/3 cup sliced carrot (preferably heirloom or mixed color varieties)
Toss greens with carrots. Plate, add dressing and pear slices.
Tangerine Balsamic Dressing
If this makes more than you use, save it in the refrigerator, sealed, and use on other salads.
· Juice of ½ large sweet tangerine plus 2 tablespoons
· 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· ½ large shallot minced
· ¾ teaspoons honey
· Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a sealed jar, shake to combine and dress the salad to your liking.