First-of-Spring Radish Salad with Burrata

By Emily Connor, Photography by Jennifer Chase

2ExwmYsQ.jpeg

Nothing quite screams “spring” to me like the first radishes that hit the farm stands. Here I’ve thinly sliced and marinated radishes in a spunky lemon-anchovy vinaigrette, tossed them with peppery watercress and served them up with creamy, glorious burrata. It’s a low effort, high impact salad that can easily go from light lunch to appetizer (especially with crostini) to a first course for dinner.

First-of-Spring Radish Salad with Burrata
4 servings

  • 8 to 10 medium-sized radishes (about ½ pound), thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

  • A few big handfuls of watercress, arugula or radish greens (if they’re tender), about 1 to 2 cups

  • 8 ounces burrata, at room temperature

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Crostini for serving (optional)

Lemon-anchovy vinaigrette

  • 3 flat-fillet anchovies

  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot

  • 1 teaspoon capers, coarsely chopped

  • Finely grated zest plus 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Make the lemon-anchovy vinaigrette. Mince and smash the anchovies into a paste with the side of your knife. In a small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the anchovies, shallots, capers, lemon zest and juice, and a few pinches of salt. Let macerate for 5 minutes, then add the olive oil, shaking to emulsify. Taste and adjust the acid and seasoning.

In a small bowl, combine radishes and mint. Add all of the vinaigrette, tossing to fully coat the radishes. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes (or up to 30 minutes) in the refrigerator. 

To assemble the salad, strain the radishes with a slotted spoon (or with your hands) to remove as much vinaigrette as possible, and pile them on 1 side of a serving platter. Toss with the watercress; there should be enough vinaigrette clinging to the radishes to dress the greens. Add the burrata next to the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Serve immediately, with crostini on the side (if using).

Ensalada de Nopalitos con Quelites (Fresh Cactus Salad with Field Greens)

Recipe by Christian Irabién, Chef at Aparo, opening this fall in DC's historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Photography by Jennifer Chase.

Photo by Jennifer Chase.

Photo by Jennifer Chase.

Servings: 6

You should be able to find cactus with the needles removed, but if you don’t, you can ask nicely at the store to clean them for you. Or, you swiftly remove the needles by scraping them with a knife. Watch those prickles, they're small and annoying when they get inside your skin!

2 pounds cactus paddles, needles removed
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons white pepper (or substitute black pepper)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, zested
1/3 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed and strained
1 teaspoon dry oregano, ground
2 1/2 cups blueberries
5 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, small diced
2 bunches purslane, washed and trimmed of thick stems (substitute watercress)

In a mixing bowl, coat your cactus paddles evenly with half of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Throw on the grill to get some nice char marks and dilute some of the cactus mucilage. Remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, add the remaining olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, 1/2 cup of blue berries, 3 tablespoons salt, oregano, and cilantro whisk until evenly incorporated to make the dressing. Reserve.

Cut cactus into manageable strips, and coat with remaining salt, about a cup or so - heavily salted - and place on a strainer to allow the salt to extract the remaining mucilage - I like to let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

Take the cactus and rinse under cold water to remove all the excess salt and place into a large mixing bowl. Add to the bowl the remaining blue berries, red onion, and dressing - toss freely.

Garnish with queso fresco crumbs and purslane vines.

***

Christian Irabien is a Mexican native who has led teams in renowned kitchens, receiving accolades for his Executive Chef role at Calavera in Oakland, Ca. and Jose Andrés’Oyamel in Washington, DC. Christian has been an integral part of the rising DC restaurant scene, collaborating with non-profits, restaurants, food banks and farms in the area as an active participant for better working conditions and wages for restaurant workers; while also strongly advocating for a better local food system. His restaurant, Amparo, will open later this fall at 3110 Mount Pleasant St NW in the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood of D.C.

 

Coconut Poached Chicken Bok Choy Salad

By Chef Johanna Hellrigl, Doi Moi Restaurant
Serves 4

DoiMoiCloseUp.jpg

For the chicken:
1 can coconut milk
2 red Thai chilies, minced
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
⅓ cup water
1 tablespoon grated galangal
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 pound chicken tenderloins

For the salad:
2 large bok choy, thinly sliced stems and a few of the leaves
1 cup mint leaves, chopped
1 cup Thai basil leaves, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup green onion, sliced diagonally
½ cup raw cashews, toasted and roughly chopped
Salt, to taste

Dressing:
2 Thai red chilies, minced
2–3 tablespoons lime juice
¾  cup reserved coconut milk broth

To make the Coconut Poached Chicken, in medium-sized pot over medium-high heat add all of the ingredients for the except the chicken. Bring to boil, then add the chicken. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the chicken and the broth to cool for at least 20 minutes.

In the meantime, prep salad ingredients and put them in a large bowl. (Chef’s note: Make sure that you slice all the white stems of the bok choy rather than the leaves. This will add texture to the salad.)

When the chicken has cooled, remove and shred it with 2 forks; add it to the salad bowl.

To make the dressing, crush the 2 Thai chilies with a mortar and pestle with 2 tablespoons of lime juice. For a less-spicy salad, simply reduce the number of chilies. Add the chile and lime mixture to ¾ cup of reserved coconut milk broth from the chicken.

Add as much dressing as you like to the salad and toss it until well coated. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Add an extra squeeze of lime juice or serve with lime wedges for extra acidity and freshness.

Serve immediately. If you are not serving immediately, add the fresh herbs right before serving.