Two Winter Salads That Snap, Crackle, and Pop Like Spring

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Regina Charboneau


There is no way I should be allowed to complain about the weather with what has been happening across the plains and in our Northern states. We are now into February and I am tiring of winter meals—I cannot make myself write another piece on root vegetables and how they make me happy that winter is here. I know I was sincere at the time, but I am questioning my judgment now that we are entering month four of root vegetables. As happy as I was to see them come, I am now happily waiting for them to go. I want salad: I want something besides cereal that has a little snap, crackle, and a lot of pop.

With the right balance of mustard, vinegar, salt, and sugar, you can make a dressing that makes your
salad pop.

I have a few standard salads that get me through these non-tomato months. One of my favorites is one I posted before with winter greens and Andouille vinaigrette, but it does not fit in well with meatless New Year's resolutions. I have lamented before about the short but ever-so-sweet season of Creole tomatoes. I would rather go without them than eat a tomato that should not even bear the same name of the best treat summer has to offer. Thankfully there are some salad toppings that help get me though until late June, which still make me feel I am eating a salad. For the snap I use crisp peppers, radishes, asparagus, or green beans, for the crackle I add hearts of romaine to whatever winter lettuces I choose for my salad, and the pop is all in the dressing. With the right balance of mustard, vinegar, salt, and sugar, you can make a dressing that makes your salad pop.

I will share two of my favorite winter salad recipes with you today. I have a standard salad that works well for dinner parties or a base salad to put some protein on top of: hearts of butter lettuce and romaine with blanched asparagus, sliced egg, and a mustard-caper vinaigrette. The sliced egg adds not only color but also protein, so this can work as an entrée salad. With the egg it has enough protein for me, but it is also a great resting place for tuna or chicken. Another favorite winter salad is crisp mixed greens with orange slices, red onion, and sliced red radishes with a citrus vinaigrette. I hope these salads get you through the winter until late spring and summer bring a few more choices.

Recipe: Mustard Vinaigrette

    • 1 shallot (small)
    • 2 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • ½ teaspoon of salt
    • 2 teaspoons of sugar
    • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, or use canola if you want a lighter dressing

In a blender, add peeled shallot—pulse to chop. Add vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and sugar. With blender on medium speed, slowly add oil to emulsify.

Recipe: Citrus Vinaigrette

    • 1 shallot (small)
    • 1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoons white vinegar *Citrus is interchangeable but they all provide a totally different taste—this blend works best for me *Zest is optional but adds a bit more pop
    • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (if Meyer lemons are available—use them)
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    • ½ teaspoon of salt
    • 2 teaspoons of sugar
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, or use canola if you want a lighter dressing

In a blender, add peeled shallot—pulse to chop. Add vinegar, citrus juices, salt, and sugar. With blender on medium speed, slowly add oil to emulsify.

Recipe: Romaine Hearts With Orange and Red Onion

Serves 4

    • 2 hearts of Romaine—cleaned, dried and chopped into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 ½ cup cup of orange quarters
    • ½ cup julienne of red onion
    • 1/2 cup sliced red radish

Toss all ingredients with citrus vinaigrette.

Recipe: Asparagus Salad with Sliced Boiled Egg

Serves 4 to 6

    • 4 cups of butter lettuce hearts
    • 2 cups of hearts of romaine
    • 5 boiled eggs—use egg slicer to cut into thin rounds
    • 20 fresh asparagus—blanched but still crisp

Arrange lettuce on platter and garnish with asparagus and sliced egg. Season egg and asparagus with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Drizzle with mustard vinaigrette.

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Regina Charboneau is the owner of Twin Oaks Bed & Breakfast in Natchez, Mississippi. She is the author of Regina's Table at Twin Oaks. More

Regina Charboneau is the owner of Twin Oaks Bed & Breakfast in Natchez, Mississippi. She is the author of two cookbooks: A Collection of Seasonal Menus & Recipes from Regina's Kitchen and Regina's Table at Twin Oaks.
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