Monday, October 24, 2011

after winter I feel hungry for greens

There is such an intense pleasure in eating fresh picked leaves. Nothing older is as bright in flavour. Nothing younger exists! And nothing marries so well with a sweet-sharp dressing. There are as many salad dressings as there are pages in the telephone directory. This one I toss through greens on an almost daily basis - with subtle variations of course. I favour a lug of good olive oil – a little less if you use walnut, an equal measure of raspberry vinegar, a teaspoon of honey – we are using our friend Gillie’s from his riverbank garden at the moment. Add a half teaspoon of grainy mustard, a pinch of salt and stir like crazy. Sometimes I rub the salad bowl with a clove of cut garlic, sometimes I let it be. I arrange the leaves for their beauty, favouring some red amongst the green and some bitter with the sweet. I line the bowl with the largest leaves.I like a base of something buttery like oakleaf or something crisp like cos - next a bitter like arugula or nasturtium. I toss in mizuna or mustard leaves, sometimes baby sorrel or young violet leaves. Then I want herbs. Lemon thyme or variegated oregano – a head of chive flowers picked, radish or broccoli sprouts, a handful of walnuts toasted in walnut oil and cooled. For luxury I cube the flesh of a ripe avocado. Dress the greens just before dinner – like a guest descending the stairs just ahead of the gong. 

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