You know what I'm sick of? Cal-Organic greens. Here in Vancouver, BC, the leaves we get out of the Clamshell in grocery stores as 'Organic Greens' are mass-produced in fertilizer-soaked Californian soil, pale-coloured, bland, and just generally floppy (and even sometimes bad-breathed and slimy). Their yuck factor applies at any time of year but is especially grody and feels desperate in the dead of our slushy, grey PNW winter when our farmer's markets don't provide us with the usual arugula, baby lettuce, and spinach options.
This means it may be time to think outside of the salad box and actually understand what's in season in our mild climate -- if not for the benefit of the environment, then at least for our tastebuds.
So what is delicious, in season, and available locally in the winter for folks in the Pacific Northwest?
To learn more about these queer ingredients and bushtreats -- foods that I classify as 'Edge Species' -- visit the Bushtreats page.
In order to satisfy my relish for fresh greens and to cleanse my liver of the winter (eggnog) habits, I've made it a ritual to enjoy the following dish. It displays a flavour palate similar to bittersweet Campari and really hits the same spots to stimulate digestion and cleanse the blood. Plus, Endive and Radicchio are a pretty classic mix for a winter salad, so you should be able to find them in any grocery store.
winter greens plate
2 Belgian Endives
1 head of Radicchio
3 Brussels sprouts
Any sprouts, cooked or soaked grains/legumes you may have (totally optional)
1 tbsp citrus juice or locally made vinegar*
1.5 tbsp olive, camellina, or flax oil
salt and pepper
*grapefruit and tangerine is in season not-so-far (California/Florida). For vinegar, you could even make your own... like from old wine or extra sour kombucha.
Rip leaves off Brussel sprouts, radicchio, and endives however you like. I like them in big pieces but you could shred them, slice them, or pull them off gently in large, individual leaves as more of a crudité (that's how I've done it in the photos). You might have to keep slicing the base of the brussel sprouts to free the leaves - same goes for the endive.
Toss in citrus juice or vinegar, then salt, then oil, then pepper to top. Sprinkle with sprouts, grains or lentils to serve. In the picture below I've added window sprouted mung beans. I sprouted them in 3 days in the middle of winter and they make me feel like it's spring.
his salad is especially good with fresh shucked oysters, homemade sourdough, and Bella Methode Ancestrale.