This is a good, basic summer salad inspired by the contents of a CSA share.
Serves 2 as a main course
For the salad: • 1 large head red-leaf lettuce
• 2 carrots • ¾ cup walnuts
• walnut or olive oil • salt
• ½ cup feta cheese
For the dressing: • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 3 teaspoons sherry vinegar • splash of balsamic vinegar
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Toast the walnuts:
Heat your oven or toaster oven to 350 F. Spread the walnut halves on a cookie tray or the toaster tray. Cook until golden brown, which takes about 10 minutes. (Make sure to check every few minutes so that they don't burn—when your kitchen starts to smell like walnuts, they are done.) Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to touch, toss with a tablespoon of walnut or olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a grinding or two of pepper. (Use white pepper if you have it; its flavor is slightly more subtle.)
Assemble the salad:
Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and wash in a few changes of water. Dry thoroughly.
Peel the carrots and grate them on a the coarse side of a box grater or with the grating disk of a food processor.
Make the dressing:
Mix mustard and the vinegars with a fork, then add oil, whisking as you pour. Add a pinch of salt and whisk it in. Test by dipping a lettuce leaf into the dressing, then add more mustard, salt, oil, or vinegar, as needed.
Put the lettuce in a large bowl with room to toss; add the carrots and walnuts and crumble feta on top. Dress and serve.
To read about the last week of Anastatia's winter CSA share, which inspired this dish, click here.