I love the punch that a salad with fresh herbs and shoots (or tendrils) provide to a meal. Milder herbs like Chives, Parsley, Cilantro, mint, celery leaves or micro celery. The whites of fresh leeks, peas shoots or radish shoots are flavorful and also provide great texture.
These salads are perfect with a milder cheese that don’t dull the brightness of these herbs. Some good ones are Ricotta Salata, goat cheese, Queso fresco or Farmer’s Cheese which are mild and crumbly.
I found this salad when I was preparing for a “Roman” themed dinner with Castello di Borghese Vineyards. Marco Borghese is from Rome and I thought it would be a great experience to develop a Roman-inspired menu using North Fork produce and wine.
Fresh mesclun greens, try Sang Lee
Fresh mint, I grow my own but you can buy it at any farmstand or supermarket
A hand full of chives along with some blossom petals
Fresh flat Parsley, from your garden — or mine!
Extra Virgin olive oil
Roll your mint and Parsley together and cut thinly (this is called Chiffonade).
Rough chop chives and/or the leeks (tender white ends)
Crumble 1/2 cup of Ricotta salata and set aside
Drizzle 1/2 cup of EVOO with 1/8 cup of Balsamic vinager until emulsified, and salt and pepper to taste.
In decorative bowl add the mesclun greens or shoots, fresh herbs and cheese and lightly mix just before serving. You don’t want to overmix your salad before serving it. It will “cook” with the dressing and lose its fresh appearance.
You can garnish with edible petals or add any other favorite garden vegetables.
This salad it a perfect first course salad for special dinner party or great as a side salad with grilled chicken or even a simple pasta dish.
Pair with Sauvignon blanc, Castello di Borghese