This Fifty Shades of Spring salad showcases the best seasonal produce and relies on natural ingredients for flavour. To have a small garden with fresh herbs can be a game changer, especially in the spring and summer when cooking light is what we crave in the Bermuda heat. In addition to fresh herbs, I always love to have a mason jar of homemade vinaigrette, fresh fruit, citrus and farm vegetables around. They are perfect to pair with more economical pantry staples such as chickpeas and lentils.
Greens are an important base so have both leafy greens (arugula, spinach, kale, romaine, watercress) and green vegetables; asparagus in the spring, zucchini or green beans in the summer, brussels in the fall and broccoli is a great year round option.
After that it is a free for all. Use what is seasonal, in the bottom of the fridge, in the garden or something you crave. In this spring salad, I have used watercress, sprouts, a small nectarine, a handful of chickpeas and I have added lots of fresh chives, lemon juice, lemon zest and black pepper. The show stealer here is a special maple and olive oil marinated organic Sheep’s feta. The sweet and salty flavors of the cheese and maple are out of this world, and a glug of good quality olive oil and chives take it over the edge. I would recommend always using a good quality, organic cheese. I can imagine Tucker’s Farm fresh goat’s cheese would be absolutely wonderful here too. Happy goats make for delicious cheese. If you do not eat dairy, no worries! A soft-boiled egg, extra quinoa, or a handful of lightly toasted nuts would still make this a showstopper. Once we are deep into the summer months, I can imagine fresh Bermuda rockfish or wild salmon on the grill would be delicious in place of the cheese and make for a great supper outdoors with friends.
Fifty Shades of Spring – Serves 4
2 bunches of asparagus, ends chopped off, lightly steamed
4 big handfuls of watercress
1 big handful of sprouts
2 cans of organic chickpeas
2 nectarines, organic or washed thoroughly and sliced thin (or peach, apple etc.)
1 recipe of Maple EVOO Marinated Feta (recipe below)
Handful of chives
Lots of black pepper
To each bowl add your greens and sprouts as the base. Divide the steamed asparagus and top with sliced nectarine. On the side or on top of your greens add a big handful of chickpeas. For flavor, lots of fresh black pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest on top. To finish, a good chunk of maple feta on top of the salad with chives and a tiny drizzle of the maple EVOO marinade. Enjoy!
Maple + EVOO Marinated Feta
1 package of organic sheep’s feta
11/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
A package of feta normal has about 6 servings so this will give you a bit more than you need for a group of 4. Carefully break up the feta into chunks; you do not want to crumble this. Set in a dish and pour over maple and olive oil. Add in some lemon zest and black pepper and let marinade, covered, for as long as you can. 10 minutes or an hours, no stress.
Now go ahead and create a seriously sexy salad!