Well Spring has kicked off here in France, the markets are abundant in purple artichokes, petit pois, capsicums, spring baby carrots of all colours and bunches of fresh herbs, piquant roquette and plump, crunchy radishes.
As a fresh, clean entrée, where the ingredients speak for themselves I like to make this salad in Springtime. Its simple, textural, fresh petit pois are sublime and super healthy to boot. ( They are also great a bit mashed up with olive oil, goats cheese, chives, lemon good salt and pepper smeared on great crusty bread tartine styles or as a crostini topping.)
600 gms of fresh petit pois or baby peas – shelled
12 radishes diced
1 punnet or about 15 vine ripened baby or cherry tomatoes – chop in half
good-sized half a bunch of VERY fresh coriander and stems (optional)
baby roquette/ cress/ baby spinach/ micro greens of your choice
1 green pepper
1 clove of garlic
1 T white miso paste
1/4 t white pepper
2 T umeboshi vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 very finely chopped shallot
1/2 t fleur de sel Camarague ( enhances radishes like you wouldn’t believe!)
1/2 c walnut oil (or other oil of your choice suitable for salad)
1/3 cup water
When preparing a dressing, I always add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar first and leave for at least 10 mins. Then add the miso, oil, water and shake or whisk vigorously. You can then add either more oil or water, to get your consistency just right, maybe a wee bit more vinegar or lemon juice etc, honey if you want the sweet element, or more salt to your own taste.
For the salad, wash ingredients, shell peas, dice radish, slice onions super fine, julienne or dice the green pepper, chop the coriander and tomatoes and toss carefully in a bowl. Add the leaf/ salad component and lightly mix – just before serving drizzle over generous amount of dressing and toss.
Other favourite spring canapes or starters for me are:
Super fresh, mixed tomato crostini with tons of basil and virgin olive oil. Here, I used rose, green and yellow coeur de boeuf tomatoes.
Chilled cucumber soup: