It looks like March will be going out like a lamb after all, although I can’t help but think most of the lambs in the Delaware Valley will be huddled under shelters away from the rain instead of chowing down in the pasture.
Sigh. It’s not too hard to sympathize with a sheep who’s been in the barn too long. Do sheep daydream about eating fresh clover or some texture-food treats, like blackberry brambles? Maybe not. But I’m sure most people in the Delaware Valley have started daydreaming about their own list of fresh springtime delicacies straight from local farms or our own gardens.
To satisfy my own spring cravings for something crisp and fresh and green, I turned to the Wolff’s Apple House “Taste of Spring” Pinterest board and experimented with two different salads this week.
The first was a delightfully crunchy Spicy Mango-Kale salad.
I have to confess, most of my friends are better at eating kale than I am. They toss it into their pasta dishes, shred it into salads and bake it to make kale chips, boosting their health with this superfood that is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and outdoes beef in terms of iron content per calorie. I just hadn’t found any recipes that really made me click with kale.
I love that the kale in this recipe is very low maintenance: wash it, take out the spine of each leaf, cut it into strips, squeeze it in your hands a couple times to soften it up and then throw it into your salad bowl.
- 7-10 green kale leaves (approximately one bunch)
- 1 sliced shallot
- 1 champagne mango, cut into cubes
- 1 avocado, cut into cubes
- 1-2 T pumpkin seeds
- 1 sprig curly parsley
- Lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 3 T olive oil + 1 T more for toasting seeds
- pinch cayenne pepper
- salt, pepper and cumin to taste
- In a saucepan, toast the pumpkin seeds with a pinch of cayenne pepper and 1 T olive oil.
- Remove the spine from the kale leaves, cut the leaves into strips, and squeeze the strips in your hand to soften them up.
- Toss the kale into a salad bowl, add all the other fruits and veggies and the pumpkin seeds and toss with oil and lemon juice. Top the salad with salt, pepper and cumin.
The second salad was this delicate and herb-rich blend, a Butterhead-Pea-Tarragon Salad, which makes use of many spring vegetables and herbs and adds a few dollops of ricotta cheese. Its base is a green that is quite different from the hardy kale in the last salad. This one uses mild and tender butterhead lettuce, which is high in Vitamin A, phosphorus and fiber. At Wolff’s, butterhead lettuce comes from a farm in Telford PA, where the Gehman family grows lettuce using a sustainable hydroponic system, so you can start this salad with head of locally-raised sustainable lettuce!
This salad also used an herb that doesn’t often find its way into salads. Tarragon is an aromatic herb with a light licorice flavor. It’s packed with vitamins–especially A, C and B-6–and helps support heart health. (However, a word of WARNING: choose a different herb if you are pregnant, nursing or allergic to ragweed.)
With these salads on the table, the outlook is sunny, even if the clouds outside say otherwise! Salads like these will be a perfect way to close out the month and welcome April!
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