I think I’ve had enough creamy comfort food for a while. Time to take a break and have for some palate-cleansing calm before launching into the next round of holiday treats. Lettuce, spinach, arugula and other tender greens are still available at the Farmers Market but so are all kinds of delicious crunchiness for salads during the winter months. I started my foray into this realm with a recipe by Mark Bittman from his column in the NY Times. Very thinly sliced fennel and celery, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and topped with fennel fronds and lemon zest (he used parmesan cheese instead). Simple, minimal and pairs perfectly with a piece of salmon from Loki Fish Co.
Once I started digging through the fridge I found all sorts of possible combinations in the crunchy-winter-salad category. Celery and fennel are good companions with many other things but there is also that bag of apples in the basement. Apples and celery, thinly cut, topped with a couple of toasted walnuts and blue or goat cheese served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Then there is one of my longtime favorites — shredded beets and carrots, in this incarnation with chopped parsley and red onion. I used freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil to dress all three of these salads. I love the fresh taste of lemon this time of year even though it isn’t local. It’s one of those items that’s hard for me to do without.
You can do most of the slicing and grating in the food processor which is great if you are preparing for many. I found a good sharp knife and a hand grater to be sufficient and easier to clean.
Once I started mixing and matching it was hard to stop — fennel, celery, celery root, radishes, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, chopped herbs,the list goes on. Serve your salad plain or on a bed of greens, take your pick.