The waiter delivered a plate covered with a tangle of crisp vegetable shavings, all slicked with a thin, pungent bagna cauda dressing.
At home, I improvised with a group of vegetables that are available in most grocery stores – by no means should you feel like you have to use all the vegetables in the following recipe; just try for 4 of them so there’s enough variety, and adjust the amounts accordingly. The salad holds up well, which is important for a packed lunch. But I may just serve this at my next dinner party. —Amanda Hesser
2 small carrots, trimmed and peeled
2 radishes, trimmed
2 small turnips, trimmed and peeled
2 small beets, trimmed and peeled
1/4 small butternut squash (the seed end, preferably), seeded and peeled
Cut the carrot into 3-inch-long, sliver thin batons (I first cut the carrot crosswise into 3-inch lengths; then I cut each piece in half lengthwise; finally, I cut each half lengthwise into 1/8-inch slivers.)
Using a mandoline, slice the radishes, turnips, and beets crosswise into the thinnest circles possible – they should be translucent.
Put the mandoline to work again: slice the butternut squash into the thinnest ribbons possible. Stop when you have 2 cups of ribbons.
Pull the brussels sprouts into leaves – you may need to trim the stem as you go to help the leaves separate, and remember that the leaves tend to wind around the sprout, so you want to pull them off the sprout in an unwinding fashion.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, radishes, turnips, squash, brussels sprouts, and parsley. (Leave aside the beets until the end; otherwise, they'll stain the rest of the vegetables.) Mix with your hands to disperse the vegetables. You should have 4 to 6 cups of vegetables.
In a mortar and pestle (or in a mini food processor or blender), pound the anchovy, garlic, and a large pinch of salt to a paste. Slowly beat in the lemon juice, followed by the olive oil, adding it in drops so the dressing has time to emulsify. Season to taste with salt, and add more lemon juice or oil if needed.
Pour half the dressing over the vegetables and blend with your hands so you can separate the vegetables (they like to cling to each other). Mix and mix and mix! Then taste and adjust seasoning. If it’s good, slip the beets into the salad (but don't really mix them in), and let the salad rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Then eat, and feel virtuous.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.