I can practically feel your darling little faces asking what happened to the fun me.
You know, the me who was all, “Hey party people, butter-flavored ice cream: we’re gonna put that on a baguette like it ain’t nothing” last week.
She won’t be gone for long. Meanwhile, hear me out: Balance isn’t just for adorable circus animals. Sometimes we have to do that thing where we try to avoid death by heart attack at 35, right? Because–who knows–maybe 36 will be THE year we finally get the hang of liquid eyeliner or grow a solid beard or whatever. Aspirations: we’ve all got ’em.
I can’t live (for very long, anyway) on cake, and neither can you, probably.
This isn’t even the kind of salad that needs me to make excuses for it. It’s an interesting one–an exciting one, I’d venture to say. Ripe strawberries, crisp haricots verts, toasted almonds, shaved raw leeks (!), plus a sweet-tangy dressing with poppy and sesame seeds galore: this is worlds away from a sad bowl of sad greens at a sad desk in a sad life.
Strawberries go in everything these days. Those are the rules–I just follow ’em.
Haricots verts are green beans, but green beans aren’t necessarily haricots verts (which are a thinner and more tender variety). Either works, and you can call them whatever you want as far as I’m concerned. They add substance and fresh texture here. I like.
The only somewhat unusual part of this salad is the shaved raw leeks. Why? Why wouldn’t we go there? They’re crunchy, they look cool with their fancy stripes and varied shades of pale green, and they have a nice mild onion flavor. I’m officially lobbying for more shaved raw leeks. Everywhere.
And there it is. Springtime, on your plate, looking all sorts of fresh.
I won’t lie, though: this would be excellent as a side to your “baguette ice cream sandwich” main course. (I TOLD YOU fun me wouldn’t be gone for long.) However you do the balance thing is a-okay with me, obviously. As long as you’re eating plenty of strawberries in April, you are doing spring right.
-d. (the almost-fun one)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (I've also tried this with balsamic; both versions are great)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 head butter or Bibb lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups strawberries, halved or quartered
- 1 cup thinly sliced leek (from the white/pale green part only)
- 1 handful haricots verts or regular green beans
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, close tightly, and shake well.
- Blanch the haricots verts/green beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
- Toast the almonds over medium heat in a medium pan, until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- Gently toss lettuce, strawberries, leek, haricots verts, and almonds together in a large bowl with about 2/3s of the dressing. Add more dressing if you'd like. Serve immediately.