I recently went to a chef’s demo at my favorite local farmers market, Morningside in Atlanta. The guest chef was Steven Satterfield, chef and co-owner of Miller Union in Atlanta and also cookbook author of “Root to Leaf, A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons.” Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons
His chef’s demo that day was a spring greens chopped salad. Needless to say, the salad was delicious and I raced out to purchase his cookbook. Flipping through the pages of this beautiful inspiring cookbook, I was ready to finally embrace the Southern kitchen. This is not your fried chicken and BBQ cookbook, and that’s why I love it. It is an updated take on what else Southern cuisine can be, with a heavy emphasis on local seasonal produce.
The first recipe I made from the book was a salad with strawberries. Many strawberry salad are dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Chef Satterfield offers up a rhubarb vinaigrette, seasonally perfect with strawberries! I made my strawberry salad with a few changes, swapping out spinach (just not a fan of spinach) for arugula, almonds instead of sunflower seeds and I used fresh sheep’s milk cheese that I had on hand for the fresh chèvre. The resulting spring salad was a beautiful balance of sweetness from the strawberries, tartness from the rhubarb vinaigrette and creaminess from the sheep’s milk cheese, and the sharpness of the arugula mellows with the combination of the other salad components.
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 6 tablespoons rhubarb vinaigrette ( recipe follows)
- kosher salt
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 4 oz. fresh sheep's milk cheese
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- fennel pollen or fennel, shaved
- Place arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle the rhubarb dressing along the sides of the bowl. Gently toss the arugula with your hands to coat the leaves. Divide the salad among 4 bowls, top with strawberries, cheese, nuts and a sprinkling of fennel pollen. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- makes 1⅔ cup
- 1 cup rhubarb, sliced
- 2 scallions, slices
- 1 stalk green garlic, sliced (or small garlic clove, sliced)
- ½ cup Champagne vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup grape seed oil
- Combine all the ingredients except the grape seed oil in a blender. Puree until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the oil.
A note about fennel pollen. I first became a fan of fennel pollen when I made Jody Williams (“Buvette” cookbook) Roasted Chicken, see my post “Simple Roasted Chicken, March 5, 2015). Fennel pollen is known as the magic spice because it is a flavor enhancer with notes of anise, citrus and an umami savoriness.
Fennel Pollen (0.5 oz.)