Hey, so this weekend I did a little demo and promised to post it online. It's been a few minutes. But now, Woo-hoo! Here it is, my recipe for spring on a salad plate.
Thanks to Sustainable Ballard for helping with the wingding. Thank you to Marguerite David from Sunset Hill Community Center for the lovely pictures, and thank you to Bill Thorness, Joshua McNichols and Colin McCrate for an awesome course in Gardening 101. Thanks for everyone who patiently waited for me to post this recipe. It quite literally takes longer to put this recipe on the blog than it does to make it. Which is good, right? And away we go...
Massaged Chard Salad with Rhubarb Vinaigrette
For the dressing:
- 4 stems rhubarb, trimmed of leaves
- 1 cup cold, filtered water
- 2/3 cup neutral flavored oil like canola oil or rice bran oil
- 1 teaspoon honey, plus more if desired
- A few pinches of sea salt and a bit of freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepot, bring the rhubarb and the water to a boil. Cover with a lid and remove from heat. Let the rhubarb steep for about 20 minutes, then strain the rhubarb and juice through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can from the rhubarb. Reserve this “mash” and add it to a smoothie, mix it into muffins in place of egg or add a bit of honey and have yourself some tasty rhubarb sauce. Return the juice to the pot and reduce it by half, about 7 minutes. Let this cool while preparing the salad.
For the salad:
- 1 bunch chard
- 1 whole fennel
- 1 whole spring onion
- 1 cup cooked barley, quionoa, brown or wild rice
Rinse all produce well. Remove the stems from the chard by holding onto the stems with one hand and grasping the leaves in the other, then gently pulling the stems away from the leaves. Slice or tear the leaves in half lengthwise. Next, bundle the leaves together tightly and chop them into ribbons about ¼” to ½” inch wide. Place the chopped leaves in a large bowl and gently massage the greens until they begin to darken and get a bit soft.
Slice the chard stems lengthwise in half and then chop them into fine pieces. Set these aside. Remove the tops of the fennel and spring onion and set aside.
Remove the root end of the onion and toss it on the compost pile or save it for growing more onions. With a knife, vertical slicer or mandolin, slice the onion widthwise into very thin slices.
Chop the green tops of the onion into thin slices.
Remove the tops of the fennel bulb and chop the fronds. Set these aside and slice the fennel widthwise into slices as thin as the onion.
To complete the salad, make the vinaigrette:
Put the bowl of cooled rhubarb juice on a damp towel tucked around the base to keep in from moving around while whisking. Add the honey and whisk well. While whisking, very slowly add the oil until it is well incorporated and thick. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Combine the chard, fennel, onion with their various stems and leaves and give them a good toss. Add the cooked grain and toss again. Add a bit of vinaigrette and taste for seasonings; add more honey, salt and/or pepper if desired. You will probably not need all the vinaigrette, which is awesome… you can put it over some grilled asparagus or spread it on your sandwich bread tomorrow.
You can replace some or all of the chard with kale or other hearty greens. Bear in mind that some greens are tougher than others. Lacinato kale needs more working than chard, mustard greens might take a little more muscle.
Fresh herbs can be added to the vinaigrette after it is whisked together. You can also use a bit of olive oil in your dressing, though I think it is a bit too strong to be used on its own. A little bit of toasted nut oil (walnut or hazelnut is especially good) makes it sing even more. This recipe serves 4-6 pretty well, unless you would like leftovers. The dish will hold well if you keep the grain, dressing and veggie elements separate until you are ready to nosh.