Summer Greens

“Way back a long time ago, when I was three” as my daughter says, or the first week in March, as I tell it, we planted a little raised box garden of greens: A mesclun mix, spinach, arugula, and escarole. We had plans to line the side driveway with a row of boxes, but alas! With the impending move, we decided that it would be too much of an investment, both in time and materials, for something that would likely have to be torn down before the harvest. As sad as I was, I think it was the right decision for us now.


However, of the absolute MUST HAVE on the list of amenities for the new house, a spot to garden is one of the higher priorities. Because eating greens like this everyday


is not something I’m willing to give up. Half of the box was taken up with the mesclun mix, but for future reference, I think I will skip the pre-mixed seed packs in favor of rows of single varieties of greens. The were several problems with the mix. One, the seeds, being different sizes and shapes, were hard to plant in any decent proportion since it was hard to grab the smaller, heavier seeds at the bottom of the packet. Even when ripped open, it was just too hard to ry to grab all those tiny seeds. Next, each variety has a different germination period, so you basically end up with a harvest of all one variety instead of a good mix. And finally, because of the different germination and growth rates, the inital greens stunt the later, slower growing ones. We were over-run with Mizuna and arugula, and the collards and chard never did much of anything. There were a few bits of red and butter lettuce that made it through, but not nearly enough. Thre was even two little broccoli sprouts, and man alive, were they tasty! The rows arugula and spinach never made it past the “baby stage” and the escarole was absolutely amazing! I threw it in a few soups, tossed it in a hot pan with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and beans, and of course, made these sandwiches once or twice.

So, in celebration of the little bit of goodness that came our way, I’d like to spread some to you as well, in the form of our favorite salad recipe. Becasue it is such a very simple list of ingredients, it’s pretty important to use the real McCoy: Find a good chunk of imported Parmesan Regianno to shave, use kosher or sea salt, as the iodine in table salt will give the greens an off flavor, and even though truffle oil is a bit expensive (OK, probably ridiculously expensive to those who have never used it before) it is what makes this salad a knock out. You can find it in very small portions, which will make about five or six salads, and you can keep the leftover oil in the fridge so it doesn’t spoil. If you’d like some other recipes to use the truffel oil, let me know as I have quite a few, and I am the queen of justifying the cost of fancy cooking ingredients!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

You will need:

  • Fresh Baby Greens
  • Salt
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Truffle Oil
  • Parmesan

Wash and dry your greens, sprinkle with a bit of the salt and a squeeze of the lemon and a good drizzle of the truffle oil. Toss, taste, and adjust. Shave the paremesan with a vegetable peeler over the salad, as much as you’d like, then serve with a wave and flourish to your closest friends and family.

We will sometimes add Italian lupini beans to make it a bit more substantial, or in the winter, pomegranite seeds. Yum!!


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