Early summer salads: Two fresh ideas from the king of kale
During summer, families of vegetables arrive in new waves every few weeks, and it’s best to embrace them, said chef Joshua McFadden in Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables (Artisan). “Cherish vegetables when they’re at their best,” in other words, and “good cooking will follow.”
One winter about 10 years ago, I created the salad that got the world eating kale. This time of year, I can’t resist young Japanese turnips, also known as salad turnips. In the recipe below, they’re supported by a yogurt dressing and a heap of poppy seeds, which add crunch, plus “an amazing floral quality.” The radish salad is “like an inside-out tuna salad.” It makes “a beautiful simple supper” or a great side for a grilled veal chop.
Recipes of the week
Turnip salad with yogurt, herbs, and poppy seeds
1 bunch Japanese turnips, with their tops
4 scallions, trimmed, sliced on a sharp angle
1 lemon, halved
½ tsp dried chile flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup plain yogurt (not Greek)
About 1 cup mixed herbs: mint and flat-leaf
parsley leaves, plus chives cut in 2-inch lengths
Extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup poppy seeds
Slice turnips lengthwise as thin as you can, using a mandoline if available. In separate bowls, soak sliced turnips and scallions in ice water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.
Rinse, dry, and roughly chop turnip greens. Put turnips and greens in a bowl and squeeze in about half the lemon. Add chile flakes, ½ tsp salt, and many twists of black pepper. Toss and blend. Add yogurt and toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings so they are quite bright. Add the herbs, scallions, and ¼ cup olive oil, and toss again. Taste and adjust lemon and seasonings.
Scatter half the poppy seeds on the bottom of a platter or individual serving plates, top with the salad, and finish with remaining poppy seeds. Serves 4.
Radishes with tonnato, sunflower seeds, and lemon
1 5-oz can oil-packed tuna, drained Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
2 bunches of radishes, greens trimmed off and radishes halved or quartered
1 small handful mint leaves
¼ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
1 small handful sunflower sprouts (optional)
To make the tonnato, put tuna with a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add mayonnaise and pulse until creamy. With processor running, drizzle in olive oil and ½ tbsp lemon juice and continue processing until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Put tonnato in a large bowl, squeeze in a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, and stir to mix. Add radishes and toss to coat. Add mint and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust lemon juice and seasonings.
Add half the sunflower seeds and sprouts. Toss, then top with remaining seeds and sprouts. Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main dish.