Herb Salad

Herb Salad Recipe

Those of you who have been longtime readers know that I struggle on the gardening front. Oh how I struggle. Some years I don't even bother planting anything. I'm sufficiently discouraged by the skeletons of previous crops - they greet me when I step out to stretch on my back patio each morning. One neighbor is convinced I'm simply a drip line away from my own personal container garden of Eden. Sure. I was having lunch with two friends back in March, one is an editor for the garden section of a major magazine, the other is an accomplished food writer - she had an article about her (newly) prolific lemon tree in the newspaper that very week. It was inevitable, the topic turned to gardening. I half-heartedly stated, "well maybe this is my year."

Herb Salad Recipe

Thinking back on it, this was more a question than a statement. Over the course of the next five minutes, it was decided that I would grow lettuce. They said, "anyone can grow lettuce." They said, "sprinkle the seeds in a pot, water, seriously, anyone can grow lettuce." So I bought a $100 pot. It might have been $200, I can't remember. Shallow, wide, architectural - perfect for lettuce growing, right? Sprinkled the seeds (heirloom red lettuce!), watered, stood back and waited. Nothing really happened. Nothing really happened for weeks, and then months. It was a shallow pot of dirt for the duration of the summer. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a week or so back, the pot sprang to life with stunning red lettuce. In my eyes, a small miracle.

Herb Salad Recipe

Although the lettuce seeds were (painfully) slow to sprout, it was a gateway crop of sorts. After I planted the lettuce I started collecting other edible plants. Why stop at lettuce? This was my year. I picked up a few edibles at Flora Grubb - one of the nice guys who works there set me up with an earful of advice and some organic fertilizer. I have a pot for thyme, a pot for snap peas, one for pineapple sage, curry, chives, red heritage raspberries, currants, basil and red-stemmed peppermint. The dill plant I bought at the Marin market back in April never made it into a pot, but it is still alive. I harvested three currants last week. Still no drip line.

Herb Salad Recipe

I love my little garden, even though I'm still trying to understand it. Lots of the plants are flowering, I suspect they wouldn't be flowering if they weren't happy - or at least that's what I tell myself. I made this herb salad using some of them of what I picked out on my patio, supplemented with ingredients from the market. I can't quite bring myself to pick the red lettuce yet.

Herb Salad Recipe

Buy your corn in husk, the best tasting corn I get is from the farmers market - stay clear of the husked, shrink wrapped stuff. If you like a little spicy kick add some chopped serrano chile to the avocado dressing. You can easily make this vegan by leaving out the yogurt in the dressing - I might thin it a bit with water or a splash of olive oil.

2 ears sweet corn, husked
1 big handful lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 big handfuls green beans or haricots vert, blanched for 20 seconds in boiling salted water, cooled completely under cold water

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 handful cilantro, loosely chopped
1 small handful of small/medium basil leaves
1 handful of pepitas, toasted

fine-grain sea salt
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 medium avocado

Cut each ear of corn in half and carefully cut kernels from cobs. Combine the raw corn, lettuce, green beans, red onion, herbs, and pepitas in a large bowl.

Now make the avocado dressing by sprinkling a big pinch of salt on the garlic clove. Chop and crush it into a paste. Place the garlic in a medium bowl along with the yogurt, lemon juice, and avocado. Puree with a hand blender. Taste, add salt one pinch at a time until properly seasoned. If you aren't dressing the salad immediately, cover with plastic, pressing into the top of the dressing to prevent browning.

Gently toss the ingredients with a couple big dollops of the avocado dressing. Taste, add a bit of salt and/or more dressing if needed.

Serves about 6-8.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

  • Always growing up with a garden and not having one this year is hard. Beautiful summer salad.

    Kim
  • Ooh, that looks light and refreshing. Perfect for summer!

    Katy
  • Wow this looks beautiful and sounds delish. I've been kind of cranking out salads since the summer heat hit in earnest here in Georgia. We've had a banner year with local blueberries and the yellow fleshed watermelons are coming in too! I love the sound of this avocado dressing so I must give it a try. So simple, yet mmm mmm mmm.

    Life Chef
  • what's the flower in the fourth photo? HS: Robert, that is the oregano - it is a Kent Beauty oregano to be exact. The prettiest plant on my patio this year.

    robert weeks
  • Heidi, I love all of your recipes. I live in Africa (Mozambique to be exact) and can get huge bunches of herbs...cilantro, basil, dill, mint...for about twenty cents each. It is incredible. I cant wait to make this salad! I have your cookbook and am still waiting on it to arrive in the mail...once (if) it comes my life here will be perfect. Just today, I had your brussel sprouts for lunch. They are THE best. HS: Let me know if it ever arrives Rhett, I can tell you a handful of my favorite recipes from it. I love that my books are traveling to so many places I've never been. :)

    Rhett
  • the pics are fabulous....and the salad looks lovely.....

    arundati
  • Which plant produced those beautiful little flowers you see in the 3rd picture? HS: Maggie, that is the oregano - it is a Kent Beauty oregano to be exact. The prettiest plant on my patio this year.

    Maggie
  • This herb salad looks like the perfect summer recipe and your gardening photos are beautiful. Don't give it up!

    ClaireDille
  • Oh, I have exactly the same problems in my little garden. About enough red currants for one pie, no gooseberries at all this year, a few salad leaves, some blueberries, again enough for one pie, but I still love my little plot and carry on planting!!! That's optimism, no?

    joceleyne
  • Lovely recipe! it reminds me the menu i've just had in the "pinte des mossettes" a swiss restaurant where we can eat a lot of flowers and herbs....

    sooishi
  • I love herb salads. When I went to Blue Hill in NYC, they did an excellent twelve herb salad. But this one sounds great. It is so adaptable, whatever is fresh and you can grow. I love chives, plus tarragon has a subtle sweetness that taste excellent in a vinaigrette.

    MangerLaVille
  • Gardening requires some basic knowledge and patience, the end results are always well worth the effort. Isn't it wonderful using fresh edibles grown from your own garden. We live in the high desert of California and at this time of year when the sun is scorching hot, it can be a challenge growing certain plants - like tomatoes. Herbs do well - my basil is flourishing and the peppers love the intense heat. Our mammoth sunflowers are amazing. I hope you continue planting and watch miracles happen.

    Ingrid
  • wow! i didn't have the pepitas, beans or basil on hand so i substituted toasted cashews, peas and mint - and i used tofutti better than sour cream instead of yoghurt - but this recipe is on the favourites list as of NOW. beautiful and fresh!

    natalie
  • Hmmm....I think maybe, if it's not vegetables, don't let herbs flower. My dad has always been very vocal about plucking basil flower things, or else it doesn't keep producing leaves. Believe me, after being lazy, it is very true. Now i pluck all the flowers off basil, oregano, cilantro, arugula, all that jazz. Keeps producing delish leaves! Peppers and veg like that, leave the flowers on - that's where they produce the peppers and things from. I too need to look more into the why's and how's of gardening...it's a tricky, time consuming business. Ooh, but buy some grape plants-those are practically work free- plant em' with something to climb up and you are fine! Sometimes i tuck exuberant growth through a trellis, but that's it. Tasty grapes, no work! =) HS: Thanks for the tips Dawn. -h

    Dawn
  • I meant to say... you can get them without the shells! Sorry. It is after 2am.

    PM
  • Pepitas are pumpkin seeds. You can get them without the seeds and roasted or raw at the health food store.

    PM
  • hey heidi, this recipe is worth dying for... but call me backward, i am, can you put up a picture of green beans? are these bean-beans or like the french beans (vegetable with bean fellows inside)? also what are pepitas? HS: Hi Meera, you can see the green beans in the first photo - long, green. And pepitas=pumpkinseeds, but feel free to susbtitute your favorite nut.

    meera
  • Lovely to hear of your burgeoning gardening adventures... after strugging for years to turn a brown thumb green, I'm slowly getting the hang of it too... I don't like to break it to you, but plants often flower early due to stress - their last-ditch effort to procreate before their anticipated demise... I know this myself after much reading and hard learned lessons by forgetting to water things (again!) only to find they have bolted to seed... Have you read Michael Pollan's book "Second Nature"? - a delightful meditaiton on gardens and gardeners. He is the author of "The Omnivores Dilemma" which also has much of import to read for the sustainable eater. kind regards, Kyle

    Kyle @ Yumoh!
  • Haha -- your gardening approach sounds similar to mine. This year I didn't plant any vegetables - I just didn't get into the gardeing spirt this year. I have an abundance of herbs though, thank God they somehow survive without attention (and often without water). I have a pot overflowing with two varieties of mint, along with a sideyard landscaped with tarragon, thyme, rosemary, chives and oregano.

    Allen
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