Addictively Delicious Spring Salad with Mint, Watercress and Radishes

I’ve been having fun testing recipes with Holly Jacobs to share on her inspirational blog The Silver Pen 

The idea for a refreshing Spring salad had been swirling around in my head for a few weeks.  I was thinking of all the things I love about Spring and the tastes I like to combine in my mouth.  Then a friend and I were on a trip to LA and I had to stop for Persian Food so I could have my favorite “hand salad” known as Panir Sabzi.  It is one of my favorite salads and I think I will actually write a separate post with that recipe.  It is lovely feta cheese, radishes, mint, basil, tarragon and sometimes cucumber.  I’ve been addicted to Persian food since Sally Saless taught a class on Persian cooking.  I flipped over everything, and couldn’t stop thinking about the Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Stew), Tahdig (the rice that is crispy on the bottom) and then the Panir Sabzi (Herb and Cheese Salad)  I’ve had all of these Persian recipes for ages with photographs and this is just reminding me that I need to get them up on the blog because they are terrific.

Now back to the Spring Salad.  I was eating the Persian Salad and thinking about how refreshing herbs are in a salad and that was the spark for what I created.  There is this fabulous flat-leaf Watercress (pictured below) that is grown in Carpinteria and sold at Whole Foods, Nielsen’s, El Rancho, Lazy Acres and other various markets.  I often like to incorporate it into my salads because it has a mild spicy taste.  It really boosts a salad.

Flat Leaf Watercress
I combined basically four kinds of greens:  Arugula, Baby Greens, Watercress and Mint.  Then the radishes I sliced with a mandolin but you can slice them thinly with a knife as well.  I put them in ice water so they would be nice a crispy.  I did not put cucumbers in the salad because for the dinner I first created this salad for I had cucumbers in another course and didn’t want to repeat it.  But cucumbers would also be a wonderful crispy addition to this salad.  Fresh English Shelling Peas from the farmers market or Sugar Snap Peas would be another option.  
The Asparagus can be made a day in advance since it is served cold on the salad.  You can grill the Asparagus or roast it in the oven.  I always put olive oil, lemon zest, kosher salt and pepper (optional) on the Asparagus before I cook it.  
Hollye did such a great job writing the recipe I’ll just paste below what Hollye wrote as well as including her beautiful photography.  Enjoy!  Maili
photography Hollye Jacobs (The Silver Pen)
Maili’s Perfect Spring Salad
Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch of Asparagus
  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 1 cup of mint leaes
  • 1, 5-ounce container of arugula
  • 2 bunches of water cress
  • 1, 5-ounce container of mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (as you know, Lucini is my favorite!) for the dressing and 2 tablespoons for the asparagus
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Cut off the ends of the asparagus (at an angle) and place it on a baking sheet
  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the asparagus and top with some lemon zest (not a necessity, but a Silver Lined addition!)
  • Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. They should still be firm and crisp when done.
  • Slice the radishes thinly, either by hand or using a mandolin. Put the radishes in a bowl of ice water to keep them fresh and crisp.
  • In separate bowl, mix the mint leaves, arugula, water cress and regular greens
  • Just prior to serving, add the radishes, dressing and asparagus.
  • For the Dressing, whisk together:
    • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
    • the juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup of lemon juice)
    • 1/4 cup of olive oil
    • Maldon salt
    • freshly ground pepper
The mint and radishes are the super secret and special ingredients. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. To make this an entree, you could easily add fish (or meat, if you eat it).  All I can say is Y-U-M!  —Hollye Jacobs