After the chocolate licentiousness from last week, I thought I'd share with you a good for your body/good for the earth "organic salad" or as the French would say "de la salade biologique." As you well know, I adore Worden Farm, the organic farm that provides our local farmer's market with impressive produce every week. This colorful salad was created from vegetables grown in their fields (even the goat cheese is a result of the Worden Farm goat cheese making workshop that I attended.)
I have seen photos of, but never obtained the allusive Watermelon Radish until last weekend. To my delight, Worden Farm had them gleaming and beaming on their table! The exterior looks much like a plain old white knobby turnip. Perhaps I had seen them many times before and assumed they were a mere turnip... however, one must cut into them to behold their dazzling color. Cleverly, Worden Farm had done just that .... cut one in half and left it on top on the other Watermelon radishes.
Watermelon radishes are larger than a typical radish, about 3 inches in diameter. Generally the flesh of this radish is spicier toward the outside and sweeter toward the center. This heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon has also been known to go by the alias Beauty Heart or Rose Heart radish... I can understand why these plain names have fallen by the wayside compared to the image invoking name, Watermelon radish!
This radish may be simply sliced to enhance salads and sandwiches or drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt to be served as an hors d'oeuvre with a glass of wine (I did this last week and they were a smashing hit). The Watermelon radish may also be cooked like a turnip, sautéed or braised... very versatile indeed.
Once, I had purchased this Scarlet Queen Salad Turnip (pictured above) hoping it was simply another name for the Watermelon radish... but no such fortune. They were pretty on the outside, but alas, not the beautiful radish with the magenta flesh that I was foraging for.
Do you remember this long lashed beauty from the goat cheese making class? She is the gentle soul who kindly provided us with the milk to make the chèvre for my salad.
If you are fortunate enough to be a reader who lives in southwest Florida, Worden Farm is having an organic gardening workshop this Sunday, May 1st. It is located about an hour away from Naples in Punta Gorda.
These orangish-red cherry tomatoes from Worden Farm did their part in the salad and gushed with sweet flavor.
I always dress my salads with a simple French vinaigrette. The vinegar can be switched out to red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar or whatever good quality vinegar you prefer. I always make a version of this for my salads when I'm catering. Remember this, the better the quality of the ingredients you use for this dressing the better it will taste!
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
In mixing bowl whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually pour in the olive oil while constantly whisking. Whisk rapidly until the dressing is emulsified. The dressing can stored in a tightly covered jar on the counter for 24 hours or in the refrigerator for one week (bring to room temperature and shake well).
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