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Author Notes: I follow several cooking related Instagram accounts, including Joshua McFadden's. He recently posted a photo of a gorgeous salad entitled “Radishes, Feta, Sunflower Seeds, Sprouted Barley” from Ava Gene's. It is my inspiration for this salad. I decided to add peas to the mix, and swapped sprouted farro for the barley since I had whole grain farro on hand. I dressed the mix with a colatura vinaigrette. I've recently discovered colatura as a “secret” ingredient – it adds the umami impact of anchovies without any solids. If you can't find it, you could use some anchovy paste instead (start with a couple of teaspoons, and adjust to taste), but the presentation won't be quite as lovely. I spread the dressed salad on a layer of whipped ricotta, then sprinkled on the sunflower seeds, feta, and some mint. The radishes, peas, sprouted farro, and mint make this a perfect salad to welcome warm spring days. The mix of crisp, chewy, crunchy and creamy textures keep it interesting bite after bite. It's tasty enough that my husband has christened it his “current favorite salad of all time”. :-) —hardlikearmour
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 bunches small to medium sized radishes
- 2 green onions
- 1 cup shelled peas or 2 cups snap pea pods cut into halves
- 1 cup sprouted farro* (or sub cooked farro)
- flaky sea salt
- 10 to 12 mint leaves, rinsed and allowed to dry
- 1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds (more or less to taste)
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta (more or less to taste)
Colatura Vinaigrette and Whipped Ricotta
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons colatura (Italian fish sauce)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- white pepper
- 2/3 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk or half-and-half
- Cut the roots off the radishes near the base; if they have a plump tail base cut where it gets narrow and thread-like. Cut the greens off the radishes leaving about a half-inch of stem attached. Rinse and gently scrub the radishes to remove any dirt. Cut into halves or quarters, from stem end to root end. Place cut radishes into a bowl of ice water.
- Remove roots and battered leaves from onions. Cut root ends into 2 approximately 2-inch long segments. Cut 5 or 6 2-inch long sections from the dark green portions. Using a sharp knife cut a slit lengthwise into each piece so they can be unrolled into flat sheets. Discard any spongy central layers. Stack the onion sheets and cut into very thin matchsticks. Place the sliced onions into the ice bath. They will begin to curl as they chill. Let radishes and onions chill for at least 10 minutes before proceeding.
- Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, colatura, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Combine ricotta, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 tablespoon milk or half-and-half in another smallish bowl. Whisk vigorously until smooth, and ricotta has lost most if not all of it's graininess. Add more milk or half-and-half as needed to thin so the ricotta is fluffy and spreadable.
- Drain the radishes and onions, then spread them onto a clean kitchen towel to dry more thoroughly.
- Transfer the ricotta mixture to a serving plate (or plates), and using the back of a spoon spread into a fairly even layer. Try to estimate how much surface area the salad will take up and cover about that area with the ricotta. It's nice to have a little ricotta peeking out after the salad is plated, but it is not necessary.
- Combine radishes, onions, peas, and farro in bowl. Sprinkle on 2 to 3 generous pinches of salt then stir. Rewhisk the dressing, then add to the radish mixture. Toss to coat. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Use a slotted spoon to place the salad evenly on the ricotta bed. Stack several mint leaves together then roll lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin strips (aka chiffonade). Repeat with rest of mint. Sprinkle salad with the sunflower seeds, feta, and mint. Serve.
- *It is pretty easy to sprout whole grain farro, and once sprouted it has a pleasantly chewy texture with a fresh nutty flavor. Soak a half cup farro in water overnight, then drain, rinse, and transfer to a shallow container lined with a damp paper towel. Loosely cover until the grains have developed little tails (mine took about 24 hours). Covered and stored in the fridge they will last for several days. ½ cup yields over a cup of sprouted grain.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Lettuce-Free Salad