Mouthwatering spring salad

18 March 2011 § 3 Comments

Spring is definitely bounding along although as the lack of local vegetables indicates, it has not yet sprung. Cauliflower, cabbage and various other root vegetables: you served me well this winter and probably prevented scurvy, but I’m getting a bit bored with your robust earnestness. Sorry I don’t wish to offend you subterranean wonders, but there are only so many stews, casseroles and risottos I can take.

This rise in temperature is making me crave lighter, simpler food.

So, feeling a bit of a traitor to my local food cause, I wanted to share a wonderful recipe for salad made with blood oranges (they are in season in somewhere…okay Florida) and pistachios (again not from New Jersey). This salad is so good for you: the watercress is a good source of protein, folate, pantothenic acid and copper, and it is jam-packed with vitamins –  A, C, E, K to name but a few. Blood oranges, if you can get over the name, are bloody from a pigment called anthocyanin, this pigment is reported to have many health benefits as a powerful antioxidant. Enough of the health education, make yourself a tasty and healthy salad for lunch, in anticipation of all that delicious, farm fresh produce that will soon be here.

Watercress, blood orange, pistachio and blue cheese salad

Ingredients – for 2 as a lunch

1 bunch of watercress leaves, washed and dried in a salad spinner (soggy salad leaves…bleargh!)

2 blood oranges – juice ½ of the oranges and reserve for the dressing, then chop the rest of the oranges up

4 oz of blue cheese (I would suggest a creamy blue like dolcelatte or gorgonzola)

Handful of pistachios – shelled and roughly chopped

White wine or champagne vinegar – about 4 tbsp

Extra virgin olive oil – about 12 tbsp

A tbsp of dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Arrange the watercress, orange, pistachios and crumble the cheese on the salad. Make the dressing start with the mustard and juice, then whisk in the vinegar and add the oil slowly, taste as you go. As a rule of thumb you should use a ratio of vinegar to oil or 1:3, but your taste buds will tell you if that is right.  Taste and season with salt and pepper. Dress the salad – make sure you don’t drown it in dressing. Enjoy with fresh crusty bread, and maybe a glass of Chablis, it is nearly spring after all.

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