Dinner Party

Zesty Labneh Salad With Spring Vegetables

January 22, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
Author Notes

This may seem like a lot of work for a salad, but once the elements are prepped it comes together in a snap—and it’s quite worth it. This will serve four as a light starter, or two as a hearty dinner salad. I find myself making it throughout spring, when the farmer’s markets are brimming with produce.

The labneh base can be prepared one or two days in advance, and the vegetables are interchangeable: Use whatever you have on hand, just make sure to keep the greens in the sturdier variety (radicchio, other chicories, pea greens, or baby kales). A mandoline is your friend here—if you don't have one, use a sharp knife to cut your radishes, carrots, and fennel as thinly as possible. What really sets this dish apart is a quick prosciutto chip. It’s basically bacon bits’ fancier cousin, and it brings a satisfying salty crunch.

Clean-up tip! Use a skillet that can easily go from the stovetop to the oven, like cast iron, for the garlic and anchovies, and is large enough to hold the prosciutto slices flat (that way, you’ll have one less dish to wash). —Anna Billingskog

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Imagery Winery. —The Editors

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 as a light starter, 2 as a main
Ingredients
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, de-stringed
  • 4 small baby beets, greens removed (about 1 per guest; use a variety of colors if available)
  • 1 pinch salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup labneh
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 1 pinch Aleppo pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 slices prosciutto (or 1 per guest)
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 of a small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced using a mandolin
  • 1 medium carrot (red or purple if you can find it), thinly sliced using a mandolin
  • 4 - 5 radishes, thinly sliced using a mandolin (use a mix of colors and varieties if available)
  • 4 - 6 cups mixed greens (good choices here would include radicchio, endives, chicories, pea tendrils, baby kale, and arugula)
  • 1 cup mixed chopped herbs (like dill, parsley, mint, scallions, and fennel fronds)
  • Flatbread, for serving (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. In a medium pot, bring several cups of water to boil. Season generously with salt. Blanch and shock your sugar snaps in the water, straining them out of the pot with a slotted spoon or hand-held strainer. Reserve the water in the pot.
  3. Drop the baby beets in the still-warm water and let them simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender with the tines of a fork. (When poked with the tines of a fork the beet should give little resistance.) Drain the beets. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin with your hands or paper towel—they should slip right off. Cut into quarters and season with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Stash them to the side.
  4. Make the labneh: To a medium bowl, add the labneh, lemon zest, and 1/2 of the lemon juice.
  5. In a cold oven-proof skillet, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and garlic, starting on low heat and slowly letting the garlic come up to a sizzle. Once it becomes fragrant, add the anchovy filets. Using a wooden spoon, break up the anchovy and let it melt into the oil over low-to-medium heat. Cook stirring until the garlic just becomes golden. Remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Once the mixture and pan are cool enough to handle, pour into the bowl with labneh and lightly fold the two together. Season the mixture with the Aleppo pepper, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed—the sauce should be punchy and bright
  7. Wipe out the skillet. If making the prosciutto chips, lay the prosciutto slices in a snug single layer in the pan and place in the oven. Let bake undisturbed for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crisp. The chips will crisp more once they cool, so don't worry if the center still seems a little flexible, or add another 5 minutes.
  8. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, the whole-grain mustard, and slowly stream in 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste the dressing, it should be bright and acidic; if too strong, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste again, season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the fennel, carrots, and radishes, along with the sugar snap peas and baby beets to the bowl and toss. Add the salad greens and toss again, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as you go. Top with the herbs and lightly toss .
  10. To serve: Scoop up some of the labneh mixture with your favorite large soup spoon and place a dollop in the center of each salad plate. With back of the same spoon, make artful swooshes in a figure-eight motion. Sprinkle over a pinch of Aleppo pepper, coarse salt, and grinds of fresh pepper, if desired. Divide the salad in tall piles between the plates. Top each plate with a prosciutto chip, crushing it lightly with your hands over the greens. Serve with grilled flatbread and lemon wedges, if you like.

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