A wise (maybe? sometimes?) cartoon man once said it: You don’t win friends with salad.
I sigh. Is it true? I love Homer. I also love salad. I love this salad. How is this post going to affect our friendship? I care about what you think. I think about what you think. Not enough to make it creepy or sad, but, ya know–I like you, and I like that you’re here. I’m not too cool to tell you.
I also follow up! Remember when I made preserved lemons and told you you could use them in a vinaigrette? Well, here she is! Tangy and lemony-bright, but in a different way than your standard, fresh lemon dressing might be. Dotted with poppy seeds, because they’ve just been on my mind lately, and that’s how I roll.
First, a word about the actual salad: look at this stud of a salad from The Stone Soup. Tastespotting is such a great source of inspiration, right? I was immediately smitten with the idea of shredding a bunch of snow peas to make a salad base, instead of sticking to the standard leafy greens. The texture! The flavor! The tiny pods peeking out and rolling onto your plate!
… Apparently, you could easily win MY friendship with salad. That rustic touch of ham in there? Ham. Oh my gosh. My friendship comes easy, apparently.
So, anyway. To shred peas, all you do is slice them into long, thin matchsticks. You can be as precise as you want; I felt like being Not Very Precise and just sort of stacked them (for speed) and sliced at a bit of an angle.
For the vinaigrette, let’s employ a food processor or blender. Technology: don’t fight it, man.
Process the lemon with vinegar and poppy seeds, then, when everything is smooth, add the oil in a steady stream. Taste this luscious goodness and season with salt and pepper if you wish, but it shouldn’t need much salt at all, thanks to the salty preserved lemon.
Put a bed of shaved peas on your plate. Top with avocado chunks, sunflower seeds if you so please, and get your salad dressed. To make this a complete meal, how about some grilled chicken or fish on top? Or a generous hunk of bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich? All of the above? I’d never judge.
Honestly, if this salad doesn’t win you friends, you’re better off without them, Boo. True fact.
Preserved Lemon and Poppy Seed Vinaigrette (on shaved snow pea/avocado salad)
1/2 a preserved lemon
1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar (I used Chardonnay vinegar)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (optional)
1 lb fresh snow peas
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
Vinaigrette to taste
To make the vinaigrette, rinse the lemon well and cut into chunks. Combine with vinegar and poppy seeds in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, then add oil in a slow, steady stream. Taste and season, if desired.
To make the salad, use a big sharp knife to slice the snow peas into long matchstick-like pieces. Cut the avocado into chunks. Divide shaved peas among plates, top with the avocado and sunflower seeds, and drizzle with vinaigrette (alternatively, you could gently toss the whole thing in a large bowl). Serves 4.