Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Salad with Texture

Crunchy, chewy, crispy, juicy, squashy, runny, solid, hard, soft, soggy, firm, creamy, grainy.

These words have something in common: texture. In my kitchen, I like to focus on how the food I make “feels.” In The Modern Menu, I tackle the importance of texture in cooking. It turns out the human mouth is incredibly sensitive – you all know the feeling of freezer burned ice-cream, for instance. Not good.

When it comes to texture, I particularly love bright, layered salads where all the components come together in one cohesive bite after another. There’s a recipe I’d like to share, though I recommend some slight modifications due to some ingredients being out of season. Instead of peaches, I recommend using green apples or another type of seasonal fruit you like.

Happy cooking - and remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Spinach, Haricots Vert, and Avocado Salad with Crunchy Honey Dressing

Crunchy, salty, sweet, and sharp — this salad has it all! The dressing contributes texture with sunflower and sesame seeds as well as sweetness and tang with honey
and cider vinegar. All in all, a unique and delicious concoction.

8 Cups baby spinach
Handful haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into small cubes
1 White peach, skin-on, pitted and cut into very thin slices
¼ Cup sugar
¼ Cup honey
¼ Cup vegetable oil
¼ Cup cider vinegar
1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Garlic clove, minced
¼ Cup salted shelled sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Place the spinach, haricots verts, avocado, and peach in a large bowl or on a large platter. Combine the sugar, honey, vegetable oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to thoroughly combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat all over.

Serves 6 to 8

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