Springing into Summer

Seasons aren’t quite as distinct as most people would like to think. The summer solstice, longest day of the year and first official day of summer, was just two days ago, but I’ve felt the heat of summer throughout the past month. And then some April showers will periodically pop back in, hesitant to turn into a real summer thunderstorm.

And some of the plants seem a bit confused as well, but of course they’re doing their best to be beautiful and provide delicious sustenance. And their best is pretty freakin’ spectacular, so I was fortunate to provide this meal for the farm crew last week:

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Salad from the thinnings of our next lettuce planting, nasturtium flowers, and borage flowers. I also tucked a bit of purslane and sweet clover in there, gotta get in my wild edibles.

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And the super crunchy, protein dense, bursting with herbs Springing-Into-Summer Salad to satisfy the physical needs and delight the culinary senses of a farmer. Peas provide a wonderful, sweet crunch, and are full of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory action, as well as Vitamins A, B1, C and K. Baby carrots (and their tops!) add a more delicate sweetness and heartier crunch, and are a fantastic source of anti-oxidants, especially Vitamin A. Fennel adds nice texture, and a wonderful aromatic, licorice-like taste, and more phytonutrients. The succulent, bitter leaves of radicchio provides half your daily dose of vitamin K. And the herbs – oh the herbs – pack some pretty powerful flavors and nutrients of their own. Detailed chart to come. Until then, just trust…

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Springing-Into-Summer Salad
2 c. cooked black beans
2 c. sugar snap peas
1 bunch baby carrots
1 fennel bulb
1 head radicchio
2 scallions
1 huge bunch parsley
1 bunch mint
1 bunch lemon balm

 

I’m sure you’ve already got your black beans soaked and cooked, so let those cool.
Make your dressing by simply blending up 3 garlic scapes (or 1 clove), juice of 2 lemons, salt, pepper, a touch of honey and olive oil (3-4x the amount of lemon). Add some water if needed.
The peas are fine as they are, tops off of course. Chop the carrots into bite-sized pieces, and finely dice their tops. Slice the fennel into thin strips, and add everything into a large bowl. Pour a bit of dressing over the veggies, and toss to combine (and prevent fennel from browning). Let sit for 20 minutes to marinate, if possible.
Chop the scallions, radicchio, and herbs, and add to the salad. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, and serve!

I served cous cous and some rice on the side, though I’ve been a legume-girl at lunch lately (thanks to granola at breakfast), and also some fresh peas, carrots and radicchio leaves. Someone suggested eating the bean salad in the radicchio leaves – farmers are brilliant. This salad is pretty flexible, and would love to see some radishes, squash, maybe some sprouts or seeds, whatever you’ve got around that’s inspiring you at the moment.

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And if my mother is reading…those are Farmer Lev’s good ‘n’ soiled hands…not mine! Signs of a hard workin’ man.

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