15 February 2010

but baby its cold outside.

i know i know i know. its freezing in nyc. the snow came. covered the city for a bit now there's piles of grey wet ice and mush covering the streets and sidewalks. its gross really. typically on these cold gross days all i want is a big bowl of something warm....but i made this salad the other night and it was the best thing i could have ever done. it was what i needed. what reminded me that fresh crisp food is so fulfilling. i love this salad, like big much.

i found the recipe while scrolling through molly's recipes. molly has this amazing blog, orangette, her blog was my first foray into the cooking blog world and i guess inspired all of this. i even bought her book, which is also fabulous, you can borrow it if you want. she's a great writer who's life has been shaped by food. its wonderful and romantic. 

anyway, she bastardized this recipe from the Balthazar Cookbook.  i must admit, i have yet to actually eat there, i've gotten coffee and croissants from the take out place but havent graced the chairs. i'd like to go, it feels like a SoHo experience everyone should have....

Balthazar Salad, Slightly Bastardized
even more bastardized from here
the following quantities make a good-size salad for two, enough for a very satisfying dinner, preferably with a hunk of crusty bread and some butter or olive oil and pepper. i ate it for 3 days by my lonesome. the quantities of romaine, frisée, and radicchio purposely ambiguous, because any proportion of the three is delicious. just prepare enough greens to have a couple of handfuls each, and dig in.


  • ¼ lb skinny asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • A handful of skinny green beans or haricots verts, trimmed
  • A dozen or so thin strips of lemon zest
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced paper-thin
  • A half-dozen red radishes, sliced paper-thin
  • Romaine lettuce, cut into ½-inch strips
  • Frisée, ripped into bite-size pieces
  • Radicchio, cut into ¼-inch strips
  • Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette, to taste (see below)
  • 4 ¼-inch slices from a wedge of ricotta salata, cut into matchstick slivers (THIS IS AMAZING CHEESE!!!!)
  • 1 small raw beet, washed, dried, and cut into matchstick slivers
  • A few thin slices of avocado (optional)
  • Maldon salt or fleur de sel, as needed
1. blanch the asparagus, green beans, and lemon zest. fill a medium saucepan with water, and bring it to a boil over high heat. add a pinch or two of salt, and add the asparagus. while the asparagus is cooking, make an ice bath by filling a medium bowl with ice cubes and cold water. cook the asparagus until it is bright green and barely crunchy, about 3-4 minutes; then, using a slotted spoon, transfer the spears to the ice bath. add the green beans to the boiling water, and cook them until they are bright green and barely crunchy, about 3-4 minutes. remove them to the ice bath with the asparagus. finally, add the lemon zest to the pot of boiling water, and blanch the strips for 1 minute before removing them to a cutting board. Blot the zest dry with a paper towel, and mince it finely.
2. remove the asparagus and green beans from their ice bath, dry them well on paper towels, and place them in a large salad bowl. add the fennel, radishes, romaine, frisée, and radicchio, and toss to mix. add vinaigrette to taste and toss again to coat each leaf and green with a thin sheen. serve, topping each portion with a few fingers full of ricotta salata, a few slivers of beet, and a slice or two of avocado, if you like, and cap with a light sprinkling of minced lemon zest. season with salt to taste.

Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette (I didn’t make it lemon truffle, I made it lemon vinaigrette and it was just as good!)


  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbs mild olive oil
  • 2 Tbs white truffle oil (did not use!)
in a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. slowly add the olive and truffle oils, whisking constantly. continue to whisk until the dressing is thoroughly emulsified. the vinaigrette will keep, refrigerated in a sealed container, for one week.

ps. i cannot tell you wonderfully yummy this salad is. its like a week later and i'm still thinking about it.

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