Last week I was invited to cook for a potluck honoring Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. Hosted by the lovely folks at Cookstr and Zokos, we were asked to bring a dish that epitomized seasonality, locality and affordability. Now, while we’ve been blessed with lovely weather of late, the local seasonal offerings are still a bit slim. We’re emerging from Winter veg., and the local Spring growth is limited to the obvious ramps and fiddleheads. In short, I had no idea what to cook.
Mind you, I have nothing against ramps or fiddleheads, in fact, I love them. But I needed to cook for 30 and make it affordable, so featuring such terribly vogue vegetables was out of the question. Taking a grand tour around the produce concourse of thePark Slope Food Coop solved my problems. Indeed, Winter veg still reigned- radishes, squash, apples, pears and collards were all local and still (for a short time) seasonal. Pledging my heart to affordability I struck out to make a radish and apple salad.
I kept it simple: radish, apple, rosemary (also local), a handful of raisins and a dressing of buttery olive oil, sharp cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Once stripped of their skins, the flesh of both black radish and green apple look strikingly similar. I shaved the radish (by hand, with a carrot peeler, not advised) and made matchsticks of the apple to provide a bit of visual contrast between the two salad partners. That was it! The salad had crunch and chew, sweet, tart, bitter and savory all at once. It was indeed, local, seasonal, and utterly affordable.
Of course, while I toured the coop looking for ingredients I came across a lovely batch of golden cornmeal from New York State. It begged to be baked, so I brought it home and whipped up a quick corn cake to serve as a platter for the ribbons of radish salad. Patience (I’m told) is a virtue, so you’ll have to wait for that recipe. For now, make use of the end-of-Winter bounty and shred some hearty radishes into a voluminous white salad. You’ll have cake soon enough dearies.
- 2 pounds Black Radish
- 4 Golden Delicious Apples
- ¾ cup Raisins
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- 4 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Minced Rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Peel both radish and apple with aplomb!
- Core the apples and cut the lobes into matchsticks. Or cubes. Pick a shape and go.
- Shave the radish into ribbons. I used a carrot peeler and the event took mindless ages. I was rewarded with delicate ribbons, but in the future I might use the shaving attachment on my food processor. Do as you like.
- Toss the apple and radish with the raisins in a large bowl.
- In a separate, smaller, bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss (with your hands, get in there) until well distributed among the ribbons and matchsticks.
- Serve in bright white mounds on clean plates with crisp wine and a good view of a sunny afternoon.