This is a wonderful and healthy salad that you will happily make space for at your next picnic. With spelt, black eyed peas, fennel, dandelion greens and kale, this works beautifully as a side, or even holds its own as the star of the show. Have a look: —fo
1 cup blackeyed peas
1 cup whole spelt
a good third bundle of dandelion greens
a good third to half bundle or so of red Russian kale
Soak your black-eyed peas over night. On kitchen sink day, cook till tender and drain. Here's how: beans should start in cold water. Bring to a boil, skimming the foam that arises until there is no more foam left to skim. Then turn the flame down and simmer. Don't be tempted to add salt. Salt toughens the hides of the beans. When it's done, drain and set aside to cool.
Soak your spelt over night. On kitchen sink day, cook till it's tender. Shouldn't take long. How? Just bring a pot of water to a boil, about 3 cups, add your grain, turn it down to low till it's simmering. When it's done, drain and set aside to cool.
Mince your shallot and get it into a small jar. Zest one of the lemons into this jar, then squeeze both the lemons on top of it all. Add a pinch of salt. Set aside to macerate for about 15 minutes. This will tame the bite of the shallot. Now start preparing everything else.
Wash your greens, both the dandelion and kale.
Spin the dandelion greens in a salad spinner to dry, then rough chop and set aside.
Cut the stems from the kale, then slice in thin coins. Now slice the leaves up, cross then lengthwise into bite-sized flags.
Set up a steamer basket in a pot, bring a bit of water to boil then steam the greens and sliced stems for about a minute and a half. You just to tenderize them a bit. Greens this time of year can be a wee tough. Pull them out of the steamer and spread them out on a sheet pan to cool.
Dice your celery, peel and dice your carrot. Peel, yes, with a potato peeler, your fennel bulb. Peeling will remove the tough outer layer.
Rough chop your herbs, I'm using marjoram, thyme and the fennel's frond. But you can use whatever you like, savory, tarragon....You'll need about a tablespoon each.
Let's get back to our vin. Do you see how much lemon juice is in the jar? You are going to put double the amount of olive oil on top of this. Usually vinaigrettes are 2 parts oil to 1 part acid. In this case, this salad needs a little kick from the lemon juice and we will use a 1:1 ratio instead.
Get the lid on the jar and shake this up until its pale yellow, you know, emulsified.
Lets start to establish this as a bona fide salad. Get all of your components into a bowl, except your vinaigrette: your now cooled, drained black-eyed peas and spelt, all your veg and greens, your herbs. Season with salt and give it a quick toss. Now pour your vinaigrette over the top and toss this all together. Test for seasoning and add salt if you need it.
Et voila! Everything but the kitchen sink! This is one of those dishes where you wander around the kitchen with a fork, taking nips every time you pass the bowl 'just one more bite, ok, maybe one more'. I challenge you not to eat the entire bowl before the picnic! Happy (healthy) eating!
I write. I cook. I want A&M's job! Just kidding. No, I'm not. I used to be a professional chef, and while I no longer want to be in a professional kitchen, I could never stop cooking. How cliche that I write and cook, nonetheless, the two marry quite happily and blogging fulfills both of those passions for me with an immediacy that I crave. I would love some day to do it full-time.
I have two blogs at the moment, and I'm developing a third.
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