It’s snowed here in Virginia on the first day of Spring and I’m not having it. I’m going to my happy place, imagining temperatures north of 70 degrees, sun dresses, and “we’re having salad because it’s too pretty outside to spend time cooking” weather. It’s so dreary I had to pick up some pretty yellow tulips and pull out some spring decor to make inside our home as cheery as it should be outside today. But we will not focus on the negative, because we are in a happy place right now, and I brought salad for us to share.
I have a serious love affair with all things lemon. I think it’s just such a lovely flavor, and I admit that I cheer a little for winter months because that’s Meyer lemon season and Meyer lemons are an extra special kind of lemon. The Meyer lemon is a cross-breed lemon originally thought to be from China. The result of a blend between traditional lemons and another, sweeter, citrus like mandarin oranges, its flavor is milder than a lemon with more sweetness and less pucker, making it really delicious for cooking, baking, and making beverages like lemonade or cocktails. It also makes a good compliment to stronger flavored foods, like dark leafy salad greens.
Over the years, we’ve gone from iceberg lettuce salads, to leaf lettuce salads, to dark greens salads. We like the spicy flavors in the darker salad greens and find them to be a very versatile side dish for meals or base for a healthier lighter meal, and they don’t often go to waste because I can just as easily saute dark greens or throw them in smoothies or scrambled eggs. They’re also extremely healthy and filled with nutrients like calcium which are easily absorbed by the body. If you’re not already eating dark greens as a regular part of your diet, please do!
I will typically dress my salads with a little olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice and salt, but we picked up some baby kale the other day and I felt the salad needed something more than my simple no-measurements “dressing”. I wanted a dressing that was bright and very flavorful on its own so it would pair well with the peppery greens, and this was it. So much so that the flavor evoked a memory. All of a sudden I was driving Highway 1 along the California coastline on my way to San Francisco with the family… this combination is all the typical flavors of what I know to be “California cuisine” and any recipe that will instantly whisk me away somewhere beautiful even on a cold basically winter day, is a winner in my book. Happy Spring darlings!
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced very fine
- zest from 1 Meyer lemon
- ¼ c Meyer lemon juice (approximately 2 large lemons)
- 1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ tsp balsamic vinager
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp heavy cream
- salt to taste
- Whisk together all ingredients except the heavy cream in a bowl until combined or pulse in a food processor.
- Stir in the heavy cream.
- Refrigerate the dressing at least one hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.