Celebrating the first produce of spring!
This salad is an excellent way to showcase and enjoy some of the first produce of spring, now available at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. The pickled rhubarb adds a huge flavour element to the salad, along with some great colour. The tender greens (kale and sorrel) have a delicate flavour and texture so it’s important not to overdress them when using in a salad. If you haven’t tried sorrel before, you’re in for a treat; it’s got a slightly tart, almost citrusy taste. Some people find it too strongly flavoured to enjoy on its own so combining it with other greens in a salad is an ideal way to enjoy it. Don’t skip the fresh breadcrumb garnish – the crunch it adds is worth the extra step. This salad is the first thing I made when I received a basket full of goodness from the OFM as part of this spring’s Farmers’ Feast challenge.
For pickled rhubarb:
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) Acorn Creek sweet black currant vinegar*
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) kosher salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) cut rhubarb (in 1/4 inch or 65 mm pieces)
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger, cut in thin slices
*Or 1/2 cup/125 mL raspberry wine vinegar plus 3 tablespoons/45 mL white sugar.
- 1 bunch kale (4 cups/1 L chopped)
- 1 cup (250 mL) sorrel leaves
- 1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced cucumber
- 1 cup (250 mL) pickled rhubarb, drained (reserve liquid)
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pickling liquid from rhubarb
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) sunflower or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chèvre, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) butter
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh bread crumbs, preferably sourdough
For pickled rhubarb:
- Put vinegar and salt (and sugar, if using raspberry wine vinegar) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Put rhubarb and ginger in a heatproof bowl or jar and pour hot brine over top.
- Cover and let come to room temperature, then refrigerate.
- You should let the pickles steep for at least four hours before eating.
- Drain before eating but do not discard the brine – you can use it in sauces, dressings, cocktails or even drizzle it over ice cream.
- Wash kale, massaging well while leaves are under water (this tenderizes them). Cut or tear kale into bite-sized pieces, discarding tough stems. Measure out four cups (1 L) of kale.
- Wash sorrel leaves gently and pat dry.
- Put kale, sorrel and cucumber in a serving bowl.
- Make dressing by putting rhubarb pickling liquid, oil, Dijon, salt and pepper in small jar with a tight lid. Shake well to combine.
- Drizzle dressing over greens and toss gently.
- Sprinkle pickled rhubarb and chèvre over greens.
- In a small heavy pot (a cast iron frying pan is ideal), melt butter over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook until golden brown, 2 – 3 minutes. Sprinkle over salad and serve immediately.