If you could taste spring, it might just be this salad. One for my grain-free, gluten-free, plant-based tribe. It’s plays on all the beauty of the season’s crops – fiddleheads, radishes, herbs – and makes it a perfect salad that tastes fresh and healthful, yet hearty, too. If you can find Burlap + Barrel’s blue poppy seeds, it’s an unexpected hint of hint of dried violets, hazelnuts and plum, and the color is eye-catching, too.
Fiddleheads can be swapped for blanched asparagus, and the salad is just as delicious.
All the wonderful ways to enjoy this salad:
- On a picnic
- Backyard BBQ
- On its own
- Paired with grilled tofu, salmon, chicken or steak
1 package Jovial Grain-Free Cassava Orzo
1 pound fiddlehead ferns*
2 teaspoons ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt to taste (I love Maldon salt flakes)
1 small purple daikon, thinly sliced and quartered
1 small watermelon radish, thinly sliced and quartered
1 Persian cucumber, diced
⅓ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, sliced into ribbons or torn
¼ to ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons Burlap + Barrel Blue Poppy Seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Orzo: Make the grain-free cassava orzo according to the package instructions.
- Trim the fiddlehead ferns, removing brown ends.
- Rinse with water in a colander just before cooking.
- Important step not to be skipped: Blanch the fiddleheads in a large pot of boiling salted water, and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and submerge in a bowl of ice water. Pat dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- In a large skillet or cast iron pan, heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat. Add the fiddleheads. Cook, stirring frequently until they start to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Salt to taste and set aside.
Dressing: Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
To Serve: In a large bowl, toss the orzo with the dressing. Add the fiddleheads, radishes, cucumber, radishes and herbs. Toss to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature in the bowl or on a platter.
*Warning*: Look for fiddleheads that are green and bright with minimal browning, and always get your fiddleheads from a trusted source. Health officials warn against eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads. Blanching is so important as it helps to eliminate any toxins and remove bitterness.