Aah, spring. The first tender buds are unfurling on the trees; crocuses and daffodils push their bright heads up through the damp soil. The music of birdsong is audible once again.
Despite all that, the weather is still utter shit here in Seattle, and frankly, I’m fucking over it. I’m hearing about spring break (college town, after all), and I’m still wearing my Uggs and pj’s in the house and huddling in a blanket to stay warm (Welcome to the world of self-employment; looking presentable unnecessary).
Needless to say, many farmers in these parts have had a tough winter, what with Snowmageddon and all, so aside from heaps of brassicas, there’s not much inspiration to be had at the farmer’s market.
But at least I can provide you with a recipe that speaks of spring. Not that smoked trout really reminds me of the vernal equinox, but whatevs. I came up with this salad for a cooking demo I did at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market, based upon what was available from the vendors at this time of year. Hence the smoked trout–not something I’d ordinarily gravitate toward–and watermelon radish. Turns out, it’s a lovely concoction, full of contrasting textures and flavors. Try it; you’ll see.
SMOKED TROUT, GRAPEFRUIT & WATERMELON RADISH SALAD
2 T. Champagne vinegar
salt, to taste
2 t. finely minced shallot
2 T. lemon juice
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
5 c. baby arugula or watercress
2 medium pink grapefruit or two medium blood oranges, segmented
one medium watermelon radish, sliced crosswise as thinly as possible
¼ lb. smoked trout (about one fillet), flaked into chunks
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For vinaigrette: Place the shallot, Champagne vinegar and a pinch salt together in a small bowl and let macerate for at least 10 minutes and up to one hour to mellow the flavor of the shallot. Add the remaining ingredients, whisking to combine. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
For the salad: When ready to serve, rewhisk the vinaigrette, and place the arugula, citrus segments, and radish in a large bowl. Toss with vinaigrette (note you may not need to use all of it; better to add too little than too much).
Arrange mound of arugula on each of four chilled salad plates, adding several citrus segments and slices of radish. Top with some of the smoked trout. Season with a twist of freshly ground black pepper.
© The Sustainable Kitchen®, 2004