A Summer Salad Two-Step, Illustrated

June 19, 2015

Grab your tote bag (and maybe your sketchbook) because, every other week, Sharon Hwang of My Cooking Diary is bringing us along for her adventures at her Northern California farmers market—and then back in her kitchen.

Today: Lettuce, turnips, and orachs—all the things that should go in salad.


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A good salad needs good lettuce. Our local farmers market has some amazing looking lettuces, and, even better, our lovely neighbors have been giving us some of their homegrown lettuces.

More: Bacon and strawberries make for not a sad-lad.

When the freshest leaves are available, the salad you make can be simple: lettuces, a few leaves of herbs, and thin coins of radishes, lightly dressed in a vinaigrette of Meyer lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a touch of Dijon mustard. That’s all.


Sometimes when I want to make a more substantial salad, one that has grains or beans, and maybe some roasted vegetables, I look for a bolder dressing. Lately I've been loving this Turmeric-Tahini Dressing from Bon Appétit. Apart from its tangy taste, I'm partial to its brilliantly yellow color, which makes every salad look happy and sunny. I tend to use a little less olive oil and a bit more turmeric and lemon juice than specified. Feel free to adjust the proportions to your own liking, but I think the key is making the consistency right: You want the sauce to be runny like honey so you can drizzle it prettily on your salad.

In the latest CSA box from Healdsburg SHED, I discovered the gorgeous Magenta Orach. These purple and green leaves resemble a more-delicate spinach. I used them raw in a salad with steamed quinoa and miso-butter turnips. Loosely based on Deborah Madison's recipe in Vegetable Literacy, cut the turnips in halves or quarters and pan-fry them in a little butter or olive oil until they take on some color. Meanwhile, mix together a sauce of miso and softened butter (or olive oil if you wish), and add to the pan with the turnips. Let the sauce bubble a little, toss well with the turnips, take the pan off heat, and stir in some finely sliced spring onions. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with sesame seeds. The richness of the miso-butter turnips is a nice complement to the freshness of the raw orach. I can see bitter greens like arugula working well, too, if you can’t find orach. 

Magenta Orach, arugula, quinoa, and miso-butter turnips. 

Little gem lettuces, roasted baby turnips, appaloosa beans, tricolor quinoa, roasted almonds, and turmeric tahini sauce.

What are some of your favorite salads? Tell us in the comments below! 

Illustrations and photos by Sharon Hwang

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    Sharon Hwang
Living in Healdsburg, California. Designing on my computer, drawing with ink and watercolor, and cooking in my home kitchen.


mcs3000 June 19, 2015
Beautiful, Sharon!
Sharon H. June 19, 2015
Thank you! I'm so glad you're enjoying these.
Jennifer M. June 19, 2015
Love Little Gem lettuce.
Sharon H. June 19, 2015