Monday Musings + My Favorite Spring Salad
Happy Monday friends! I really hope that, wherever you live, you had the same beautiful weather we did this past weekend. I think I can officially say that Spring has arrived to New York City. After the longest winter I can ever remember, we finally have blue skies, over-70-degree temperatures, and the first flowers on the trees. The birds are chirping, my windows are flung open, and I feel like dancing.
There’s something truly magical about the changing of the seasons. Without the darkness and the cold of winter, we could never fully appreciate the blue skies and the sunshine of spring. And without the intense heat of the summer, we wouldn’t be able to relish the crisp, cool nights of fall. There’s a time and a season for everything, and I’m trying to relish each day as it comes, rather than pining for the past or longing for the future. Today is a gift and I want to live every moment to its fullest.
When the weather is this nice, all I want to do is walk. I become a tourist in my own city, wandering through new neighborhoods and winding down back streets and walking over bridges instead of taking the subway. I went to a friend’s baby shower this weekend in Brooklyn Heights, a truly dreamy neighborhood of brownstones and cobblestone streets, just a few blocks from the East River. After the party, I walked down to Brooklyn Bridge Park and along the water (awed by the stunning views of Lower Manhattan), over to DUMBO (stopping to pick up a coffee and a few One Girl Cookies), and back home via the Manhattan Bridge. The sun was shining and everybody and their kids and dogs were out picnicking, playing, and reveling in the glorious weather. I love the feeling of wonder, of hope, and of pure childlike joy that floods me this time of year. It’s especially encouraging after slogging through the darkness of the past few months. God is so good, and he’s birthing something new in me, just as he’s bringing new life to the city.
I didn’t post any recipes last week, so I wanted to share with you one of my favorite spring salads. (You may recognize the picture from my post on Food-Styling.) It’s a bright mixture of lettuces and thinly shaved radishes (including my favorite watermelon radishes), tart Granny Smith apples, Dijon vinaigrette, and my favorite part: toasted baguette slices with warm, oozy goat cheese on top. This salad reminds me of my favorite salade du chevre chaud in Paris. It makes a perfect light lunch, though the goat cheese and bread add just enough sustenance so you’re not starving an hour later. Also: you want to slice the radishes and the apples paper thin (a mandolin is great for this) – no chunks in this salad, please! Some people like to drizzle honey over the goat cheese, but I like it just as is.
I hope you enjoy this little taste of France – and even more so, I hope you get outside this week and soak in the glory of spring. Pour yourself a glass of rose and take time to savor a new season. The old has gone, the new has come. Rejoice in the promise of today.
Photos by Signe Birck
WARM GOAT CHEESE SALAD
2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 cups mixed lettuces, washed, dried, and torn
4 regular radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 watermelon radish, thinly sliced and cut into half moons
1/2 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1/2 whole grain baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 ounces aged goat cheese
Preheat the broiler to high.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and red wine vinegar, and slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl toss together the lettuces, radishes, and apples.
Arrange 8 baguette slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Broil for about 30 seconds or until beginning to brown. Remove from the oven, flip over and top with goat cheese slices. Drizzle with olive oil and broil for another minute or so until bubbling and browned. (Stand right by the oven – it can quickly burn if you don’t watch it!)
Toss the salad mixture with the vinaigrette, and season with additional salt and pepper. Divide among four plates and top with the warm goat cheese crostini. Serve immediately.
NOTE: You can make more of a composed salad if you like, arranging the radishes on the bottom of the plate, drizzling with vinaigrette, and then adding the remaining salad (mixed with radishes and apples) on top and goat cheese on top. It’s a really pretty salad, so I like to arrange each plate.