Here in Southern California, winter is on its way out and I have never felt more ready to give kale salads a rest. Right now I am craving all that is crunchy, fresh and pale green -- like this salad, which mixes a dill-flecked dressing with sweet sugar snap peas, crisp celery, chopped romaine and pretty, pink-edged radish slices that remind me of spring's first blossoms winking to life.
The crunchiness of this salad makes it a great candidate for lunch. Even after it is dressed, it stays crisp and fresh in the refrigerator for several hours, and you can easily transform it into a full meal by adding a little protein in the form of cooked chicken, smoked fish, hard-cooked egg or toasted nuts.
I recently served it as a make-ahead side dish at a brunch by chopping and assembling the salad ingredients the day before, and tossing them with the dressing just before serving. It was exactly the right thing to eat on a sunny afternoon that was just warm enough to crack a window and let all the good smells of spring inside.
Crunchy Spring Salad with Dill Dressing
Serves 6 as a side dish
For the salad:
8 ounces (about 2 cups) sugar snap peas, trimmed
4 small radishes, thinly sliced (I use a mandoline)
3 small stalks celery, sliced crosswise into bite-size pieces
1 large romaine heart, chopped into bite-size pieces
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced shallot
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and salt until the salt dissolves. Add dill, mustard and shallot and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly, until dressing is smooth and emulsified. Pour dressing over salad and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated.
• Salad will keep, dressed and refrigerated, for up to 6 hours. For longer storage, keep chopped and assembled salad ingredients covered in the refrigerator up to 1 day ahead and toss with dressing just before serving.
Related: A Peek Ahead: 10 Colorful Early Spring Salads
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)