In just a few weeks I will have garden beds full of tender greens like mesclun, arugula, bok choy, spinach, and pea shoots. Long will be the days of roasted root vegetables and braised kale. I have had a winter full of those vegetables, and now I'm ready to move on. That's right, I'm poo poo-ing on the season called winter.
Part of the reason for this so called salad season is because each year I am over-the-moon excited about the new, fresh flavors of spring. Another, possibly more practical, reason is that I am trying to stay on top of what the garden produces. Lettuce grows fabulously in spring weather, and Seattle has a notoriously long spring. Hot, lettuce-wilting summer days likely won't arrive to Seattle until mid-July.
A couple weeks back, on a day when I had really had it with potatoes and turnips, I started dreaming of fresh leafy greens. Mid-way through my dream, I noticed Patricia Wells posted something about her new book, Salad as a Meal. She and her publishers challenged fellow food bloggers to make 3 recipes from her new book each week, for four weeks. I thought to myself, this is just what I need to get spring rolling. This marks week one, of the four week Salad as a Meal challenge.
Not surprisingly, Patricia's book takes "salad" way beyond leafy greens.
Despite the fact that I think of Patricia Wells as being a french-styled cook, the first recipe I tried from her new book was asian inspired. Last night I was in the mood for something comforting, and soba noodles sounded divine.
The first salad: Chicken and Soba Noodles with Ginger-Peanut Sauce.
The recipe title really says it all...
I was expecting the heartiness from the soba, but the recipe tasted much fresher than I imagined. Perhaps it was all the fresh herbs or the considerable amount of rice vinegar counterbalancing the peanut butter and soy sauce in the dressing. It doesn't matter. This recipe was the perfect of juxtaposition of rich and acidic, heavy and light. This challenge is off to a good start...