WRITTEN ON May 13th, 2009 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Appetizer, No really, what IS for lunch?, Salads, Vegetarian

A wonderful thing happens around this time of year. At farmers markets and grocery stores all over the country, produce sections start filling up again. Seasonal, local ingredients start multiplying from winter squash and apples to all sorts of tender baby lettuces, asparagus, and fresh herbs. Pretty soon, strawberries will arrive, en masse, in all their juicy red glory. The world is waking up, and it’s a crying shame if we don’t stop and take notice. I have an ongoing love affair with fresh veggies and herbs. I simply cannot imagine my life without them. This is my latest and greatest seasonal salad invention. The lettuces are soft and supple, the cheese perfectly salty, the nuts add a nice texture and the raw zucchini is surprising. But the real star of the salad are the herbs. I used a mix of mint and parsley leaves, just as I would use arugula or baby spinach. The flavor is unmatched. You will never want to go back to your regular romaine again. So bust out those leftover herbs, cause nobody puts baby in the corner.

My Favorite Spring Salad

My Favorite Spring Salad

My Favorite Spring Salad (serves 2)
2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
1 large handful each fresh mint and parsley leaves, picked through to remove stems
1 small zucchini, halved and peeled with vegetable peeler into thin strips
1/3 lb (about 2 large handfuls) spring baby greens mix
1 handful roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
About 12 shavings ricotta salata (shaved with vegetable peeler)
Juice of ½ a lemon
Olive oil (about 3 turns around the bowl)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine zucchini, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat, let macerate for 10 minutes. Add all other ingredients except for the cheese, toss with drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper (you can add more lemon if you think it needs more acidity). Add shaved ricotta salata last.

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