It’s the first week of June, and it’s raw and rainy. I’m bundled in fleece because it’s only in the mid-50’s outside. I’m so ready for summer. I’d even settle for spring. At boot camp this morning, we were taking a survey of who turned their heat back on…
Local farmers’ markets are just starting to open for the season. I pick up my first week’s CSA share tomorrow. My vegetable garden is planted but sunshine and heat are needed for it to grow.
When summer tomatoes are at their peak later in the summer, Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella or burrata makes a regular appearance on my table, but it’s much too early for that. I saw a recipe in the New York Times a few weeks ago for a spring version with fava beans and fennel. Those aren’t in season yet either, but I felt inspired.
What was fresh at today’s farmers’ market? Radishes and sugar snap peas cried out to me. I also have plentiful arugula growing at home, self-sowed from last fall’s plants, and fresh mint in my herb garden.
Here’s my version. The variety of color and textures is a treat for the senses. I love how I’ll be able to vary the ingredients as the season progresses towards tomatoes and beyond.
Spring Burrata Salad
1 small shallot, diced finely
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 radishes, sliced thin
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
1 heaping cup of sugar snap peas, tops trimmed, cut in half
1 4-oz ball burrata
Arugula leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces if large
1 sprig fresh mint
In a small bowl, cover diced shallot with lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt, and let it sit while you prepare the vegetables (5-10 minutes). Then, whisk in olive oil.
In another bowl, toss the radish slices, sliced celery, and peas together.
Arrange the arugula on a plate. Place the burrata in the center. Scatter the mixed vegetables over the arugula and burrata.
Spoon about half of the dressing over the salad. Finally, tear the leaves from the mint sprig into small pieces and sprinkle over the salad.
Serve immediately. Use a serving spoon to cut the burrata in half or quarters as the salad is served.
“En papillote” or in parchment is a technique that I’ve tried a few times before for French Fridays with Dorie. Each time, I marvel at its brilliance, and then promptly forget it about it until the next “en papillote” recipe gets selected. Well, this week, we’re making Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps and Garlic en Papillote. Once again, en papillote made me smile.
The recipe name kind of says it all. Spring vegetables are sealed up in foil packets along with some orange zest and sprigs of mint. One packet for each person is baked, allowing the vegetables to steam in their own juices, infusing with the orange and mint flavors.
I liked the combination of vegetables: the baby bok choy with the peas, baby onions, and sliced garlic. It was so lovely to enjoy fresh sugar snap peas. My only complaint was that I wasn’t completely sold on the orange zest or the mint. I might have preferred lemon and chives or thyme.
I served the veggies as a side to baked chicken with artichokes and couscous, but it would have been good with anything.
Hopefully, I remember this easy technique over the summer. We’ve got plenty of vegetables coming when our CSA starts up in June.