As spring morphs into summer, the mania over fresh, local produce is about to relax a little. For a few brief months, we’ll get comfortable with our good, not mealy tomatoes and sweet berries until the cold returns and, with it, the shock of rather bare greenmarkets. In the meantime, celebrate the current happy season with a salad of spring greens. Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban, the chef-owners of Seasonal, share their recipe for a Mixed Wild Spring Green Salad, fresh from a nearby (though probably not your) garden.
“The dish is inspired by the traditional home vegetable garden and ingredients one would find,” say the chefs. “The salad’s foundation is built by what grows beneath the soil: baby carrots and cipollini onions. The pickled mushrooms enhance the dish with the earthy tones from the soil and give it freshness. Finally, the fragile greens tossed with Austrian pumpkin seed dressing add nuttiness. The thin shavings of radish and asparagus top the salad with a fresh crunch.”
Mixed Wild Spring Green Salad
For the carrot purée:
1/2 pound baby garden carrots, sliced into half-inch logs
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
salt, to taste
In a large pot over high heat, cook the carrots in the stock and salt until tender. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Adjust the consistency with stock.
For the eggplant purée:
1/2 pound eggplant, diced into half-inch cubes
1 cup vegetable stock
In a large pot over high heat, cook the eggplant in the stock and salt until tender. Blend in a food processor with the lemon juice until smooth. Adjust the consistency with stock.
For the smoked onion purée:
1 pound cipollini onions
2 1/2 cups aia (milk, water, shallots, bay leaf, peppercorn)
salt, to taste
In a pan over medium heat, sauté the cipollini onions until golden, then smoke in a closed container for 20 minutes. Blend in a food processor with the aia until smooth.
For the pickled mushrooms:
3 tablespoons crystal sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
3 1/2 ounces beech, morel, and shiitake mushrooms
2 thyme sprigs
In a pot over high heat, bring the sugar, water, and vinegar to a boil, then let it cool down. Add the mushrooms.
For the Austrian pumpkin seed dressing:
6 tablespoons Austrian pumpkin seed oil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed with low acidity, if possible)
2 tablespoons elderflower syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
kosher salt, to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a blender until emulsified.
1/2 ounce Miner’s lettuce
1/2 ounce wild spinach
1/3 ounce hearts on fire
1/3 ounce red radish, shaved
1/3 ounce green asparagus, shaved
pinch garden flowers
In a bowl, toss all the greens with the pumpkin seed dressing. On a plate, spread the three purées, and add the mushrooms in the center. Top with wild spring greens. Garnish with radish, green asparagus, and garden flowers, and serve.
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