Salad Days

by Laura FrerichsTastemaker in Residence

The farming season is well underway on our Minnesota farm, and we are experiencing typical May weather vascillating back and forth between hot and windy, and rainy, cold, and windy.  Windy being the only weather constant we can rely on out here on the prairie. We are getting the first tastes of freshness back on our plates now with the first baby salad mixes, arugula, spicy mesclun mixes, radishes and salad turnips. With the first radishes, turnips, and beets coming in, we are so desperate for greens and they are such good quality on the first seedings in cool weather, that we make sure to reserve the radish, salad turnip and beet tops to add to salads and lightly stir fry. Those greens exude goodness, and our farm table overflows with some panoply of salad every day.

A stand-by favorite salad of ours is the Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. The balsamic vinaigrette is a pantry staple, and we mix up a big pint jar of it every few weeks to have in our fridge. It goes well with any salad!

Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette  

As the first herbs begin to pop up out of the ground, those become a delicious salad addition.  A crispy baby romaine, such as a "Little Gem Lettuce" pairs beautifully with this Creamy Dill Dressing.  Once we make the dill dressing, it makes it way into all sorts of things, including egg salad, onto sandwiches (BLT's with dill dressing can't be beat!), and as a dip for crudites.

Creamy Dill Dressing

Lastly, the salad that screams summer to us and is especially useful in the heat of the days when lettuce begins to bolt and bitter in the field, we turn towards the Greek-style salad with hunks of garden-fresh tomato, cucumber, sweet pepper, green onions, and a good vinaigrette as a topper.  A creamy dill or basil dressing can be subbed for the vinaigrette.

Mediterranean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette