Spring is wonderful, isn’t it? I feel like it’s a small gift from the universe to keep me going until summer arrives. As someone who loves to cook (and eat) it also means fresh fruits and veggies will soon start reappearing at the farmers market. Now I live near the mountains, so it’s still pretty cold where I live for a good part of the year. It can be very hard to come by fresh, locally grown produce during the winter months. I admit that I grow weary of roasted root vegetables and squash. I’m tired of hearty soups and stews. (Well, almost.) What I really want is raw, bright salads. And during these early weeks of spring, I know I can rely on mixing winter and warmer weather produce – it kinds of bridges the gap in a way. So I’ll keep eating tasty root veggies a little bit longer, but I might just give them a little springtime flair by adding microgreens. This Early Spring Salad is wonderful. I haven’t been a fan of beets for very long, but I will tell you that if I hadn’t already started trying to love them, this salad would have been Cupid’s arrow.I like salads with crunch. I like salads loaded with different flavors, textures, and colors. This salad fits my criteria. Celeriac (celery root) is one ugly root veggie, but it’s absolutely incredible. I love it cooked – it goes well with potatoes, but it is refreshing raw. The light celery flavor goes splendidly with the shaved fennel and shredded beets.
The goat cheese adds a nice creamy, tangy element and the nuts are for texture. It’s great with hazelnuts, but just about any nut would do. And really, after that, all it needs is a little coarse sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (orange would work too!), and a drizzle of good olive oil. It’s pretty simple and tastes fantastic. It’s also good served over your favorite baby greens.Tell me – how do you bridge the gap between winter and spring? What are you most looking forward to?
- 1 small celery root
- 1 large beet
- 1 medium fennel bulb
- 1 cup microgreens (or other sprouts)
- 3-4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup chopped nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans)
- Juice of 2 lemons, divided
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Prepare the veggies - peel the celery root and beet. Shred or grate into separate bowls. (I used the grating disk for my food processor.) Squeeze half of one of the lemons over the shredded celery root and toss to coat. This will prevent it from turning brown. Cut the stalks and leafy top of the fennel off of the bulb. Cut the bulb in half and cut a V into each half to remove the hard core. Discard the core. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, very thinly shave or slice the fennel. (It doesn't matter if it's cross- or lengthwise.) Place in another bowl and squeeze the other half of the lemon over the top and toss to coat. This will also prevent browning.
- Assemble salad - have four salad plates ready. Layer the beets, celeriac, and fennel onto the plates. Top with some of the microgreens, crumbled goat cheese, and nuts. Season well with salt and pepper, then squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top. Finish by drizzling with the olive oil. Serve immediately.
- Note: You can prepare the salad components ahead of time and assemble at the last minute. Keep them covered and refrigerated until assembly time. The celeriac and fennel will probably turn brown (like apples and pears), but it won't affect the taste. Add a little more lemon juice to the bowls and toss to help prevent that.