Last week, the Westport Farmers’ Market opened for their summer season, and I couldn’t have been happier. Farmers markets have always been near and dear to my heart. As a girl who loves and appreciates quality ingredients, there is no better place better way to shop. But even just as important as finding the highest quality ingredients, it’s also really important to me to shop as local as I can, and help support all of the local farmers, purveyors and artisans. Without them, our food chain would look very different. No farms, would mean, no food. It’s really that simple.
Ok, so back to this gorgeous wild arugula and pansy salad….
One of my very favorite vendors at our local market is Two Guys From Woodbridge. Everything I buy from them is outstanding. The have such high quality greens, microgreens and of course gorgeous edible flowers. My salad game has for sure stepped up since I started using their beautiful greens. If you live in Connecticut, I would definitely suggest finding them at your local farmers market (here’s a link to their market schedule). But if you’re not local, no worries. Maybe now is the time to explore the vendors at your local farmer’s market. You just might be amazed with what you can find in your own neighborhood.
Up until now, I had never really worked with edible flowers. I had used them as a garnish, sure. But never as the star ingredient. This recipe is a little different. When I spotted these delicate sweet flowers I was so inspired to create something where they could shine, and they certainly do here.
If you’ve never worked with edible flowers, it’s really such a fun treat. They all taste a little different. Some bitter and spicy, while others a little grassy and earthy. Here, I used edible pansies which are a little zesty, almost minty.
To not overshadow these delicate flowers, I wanted to keep all of the other ingredients light, bright and happy. For a sweet and tart play I added apple and red onion that was sliced paper thin. I didn’t want anything that would weigh down these gorgeous petals. For a base I chose wild arugula that was peppery and bitter, the perfect backdrop for these bright spring flavors. The combination of the peppery arugula with the tart onion, sweet apple and minty pansies was so refreshing, light and represented everything I love about this spring season.
To finish the salad, I chose a basil orange blossom dressing that is tart and sweet, with a subtle floral tone. The dressing is the perfect compliment to bring out all of the delicate spring notes of this salad.
I’m so excited to go back to the market this week, to see what other beautiful produce is there just waiting to be used. But for now, I’d say I’m pretty happy with how this season has started out.
Happy spring, friends!
- 4 cups of wild arugula, rinsed
- ¼ cup of red onion, thinly sliced (I suggest using a mandoline here)
- ¼ cup of radishes (left whole or sliced depending on size)
- 1 honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced (use a mandoline here as well)
- ¼ cup of sunflower seeds
- a handful of edible flowers (I used pansys here)
- a handful of torn basil
- For the basil orange-blossom honey dressing
- 1 shallot
- 2 tbsp of orangeblossom honey
- 1 tsp of dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp of apple cider vineagar
- ¼ of good, high quality, olive oil
- 3 tbsp of basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced)
- ½ tsp of salt
- ¼ tsp of fresh black pepper
- In a serving bowl of your choice, add four cups of wild arugula.
- Creating a pattern, or presentation of your choice, carefully add the sliced red onions, sliced apples, radishes and torn basil. Sprinkle the sunflower seeds directly on top
- To make the dressing
- In a blender, add shallot, orange blossom honey, mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt/pepper. Blend on medium speed for 20-30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add in basil and mix on low for 10 seconds (just to incorporate, don't want to bruise the basil). Pour into a glass container and store in your fridge for up to one week.
- To finish salad, delicately drizzle 4-5 tbsp of dressing over salad. Garnish with edible flower. Serve and enjoy!