One of the things I love about this season is how easy it is to throw together a great salad. I know, I know; you thought I’d say something about berries and pies. Well, surprise! I like vegetables too!
In fact, I can’t get enough of them. Come spring, I toss peas into pasta, roast asparagus with Parmesan and lay thinly sliced radishes over my avocado toast. I’ll even dress greens in lemon juice and olive oil and eat as is- everything’s fair game, and the crunchier it is, the better.
This salad is a simple, beautiful amalgamation of the season’s best and brightest. The fresh peas are buttery, snap peas add crunch and the radishes and cucumbers are crisp and refreshing. The feta on top adds creaminess and the edible orchids do double duty, acting pretty as well as adding floral and vegetal notes that work perfectly here.
The salad’s delicious (and incredibly easy to put together) but the real magic is in the dressing. Made with shallot, basil and red wine vinegar, it’s tangy, piquant and wakes everything up; best of all, it comes together in a blender, taking less than ten seconds.
It seems too simple to be special, but the crunch of the vegetables, the brightness of the dressing and the creaminess of the feta will change your mind. It may not be pie, but it’s salad- and it’s hella good.
Why I love this recipe: seasonal peas are crunchy and buttery, watermelon radishes add unique color and edible orchids are floral, fresh tasting and add an elegant touch to this salad. The dressing is a wonder: bright, punchy, and made in a blender. Fresh feta finishes it all off.
Variations: add purple or yellow endives. Serve with sliced avocado. Add fresh, purple and yellow wax beans or haricots verts. Use edible violets instead of orchids.
For the salad:
- 4 cups mixed spring greens or farmer’s market lettuce
- 1 large English Cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2-3 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups raw fresh peas
- 1 cup fresh snap peas
- 4 oz. feta, cubed
- 2 oz. edible orchids
For the basil vinaigrette:
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 3 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a blender and blend for 3 minutes until completely smooth.
- Arrange the greens on a large platter or bowl.
- Scatter the cucumbers, radish slices, peas and snap peas over the greens. Top with orchids and orchid petals.
- Add the feta to the salad and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve alongside the basil vinaigrette.