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A little color therapy for winter…

February 28, 2009

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It is still very much winter here. And tomorrow begins March, which is my least favorite month for its drippy, dreary days. Now’s about the time when I start craving crisp, crunchy things and bursts of color, the kinds of things we see a whole lot more of in the spring and summer months. How does a girl get through this last push to winter’s finish line?

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How about starting with some watermelon radishes? Besides the obvious summer connotation — watermelon! — they actually do look a little bit like a watermelon slice. Pale green on the outer layer of skin, white just inside, and then: ta-dah! A gorgeous bright hot pink sunburst in the center. I smile every time I slice one of these open.

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And besides their gorgeous color, they’re a great antidote to the winter doldrums. They’re crunchy, fresh, and lack any of the hot “radish-y” taste that some people dislike. We’ve been getting them in our winter CSA share each week (which actually just ended this past week; sniff sniff!) but I’ve also seen them in our local co-op. Why not hunt around for them in your area?

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So this was lunch today: I combined some red leaf lettuce with some chopped kale, sliced roasted beets, and watermelon radish slices (all but the red leaf lettuce from our winter share.) I drizzled the whole plate with extra-virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction, then sprinkled the salad with crumbled fresh local goat cheese and (sorry, unlocal) pistachios. And of course, finished it off with some flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Pink, gold, dark purple, dark green, light green…woo! This is winter color therapy.

We’re almost there, folks! As my friend’s father used to say: “sprint to the finish!” (That’s for you, M!)

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Winter Salad with Beets, Watermelon Radishes, Pistachios and Balsamic Reduction

an Eggs on Sunday original

view printable recipe

The balsamic reduction is a staple in our house; I love to top salads with it and it can elevate inexpensive, store-bought balsamic vinegar to something syrupy and sublime.

Ingredients
a mix of red leaf lettuce and kale (Lacinato kale is a bit less bitter than curly kale, but either will do)
a few slices of roasted beets – try using a mix of golden and red
sliced watermelon radish
crumbled fresh goat cheese
balsamic vinegar (start with about 1/4  to 1/3 cup for 2 servings; see directions below)
extra-virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt (I like the Maldon brand)
freshly ground black pepper
chopped pistachios

Directions

To make the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup for 2 servings) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce until it’s a syrupy consistency. This usually takes me a few minutes, and don’t leave it because it can reduce pretty quickly. Also, be careful inhaling directly over the reducing liquid – it’s potent! Test it with a spoon as it reduces and once it’s reduced by about half, to a thicker, almost syrupy consistency, turn off the heat.

Combine the lettuce, kale, beets, and radishes on two plates. Drizzle the plates with extra-virgin olive oil, then the balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then top with the crumbled goat cheese and chopped pistachios.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2009 4:19 pm

    What a gorgeous salad. I think I may run out and get the ingredients to make this for lunch!! Watermelon radishes are truly a gorgeous veggie! Your pictures have certainly cured my winter slump!

  2. February 28, 2009 6:16 pm

    Wow, so beautiful!! Those radishes are amazing.

  3. February 28, 2009 6:31 pm

    Wow, what amazing color in those radishes!

  4. Maggie permalink
    February 28, 2009 10:44 pm

    Thanks Amy! Amanda, Betsy, and Jen will appreciate that too :) The salad is beautiful – I’ve never seen watermelon radishes before, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for them!

  5. Betsy permalink
    February 28, 2009 11:38 pm

    What a beautiful salad Amy! I’ve never seen watermelon radishes before either – so neat!

  6. February 28, 2009 11:46 pm

    Those really are some beautiful radishes!

  7. March 1, 2009 8:44 am

    I haven’t run into the watermelon radish and I feel like I am totally missing out – they look lovely!!

  8. March 1, 2009 4:44 pm

    I’ve never heard of/seen those before!! How freakin’ cool!

  9. March 1, 2009 6:11 pm

    So pretty! I know how you feel about March. Hang in there.

  10. theperfectlyimperfect permalink
    March 1, 2009 8:33 pm

    I love red daikon (or watermelon radish)! I’ve been having fun with these from my CSA box, too. Enjoy!

  11. March 2, 2009 6:31 pm

    Beautiful, colorful salad! Definitely cheered me up on a very snowy March day.

  12. March 4, 2009 12:34 pm

    Amy, you can actually use any variety of kale raw in salads if you just massage it with some olive oil and salt to break it down first. I used to just use lacinato kale, but once I started massaging it seems like anything will work.

    Beautiful shots of the daikon!

  13. March 4, 2009 12:56 pm

    Love these wild colors!

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