A very sunny Easter salad
This morning I went to the farmers’ market with my daughter. My daughter and I went on a little adventure, together, to buy food. It felt so special you guys.
Yes, it’s just a farmers’ market. Yes, I go on adventures with Lillyan often.
But they’re usually to my favorite trails or to visit friends where my darling girl is more of a very willing and smiley tag-along while I listen to podcasts or babble incessantly to friends. She loves the time in nature. She loves interacting with other people. But bringing her along is more because I want to be near here, or logistically need to be, rather than the whole point.
Today, bringing her was the reason for my visit. It was the opening day of the Dane County Farmers’ Market, something that feels inherently special to me even though I have never and don’t think I ever will vend here. And I wanted to share that with her. I wanted to share this place that is truly iconic, the place where all of my food system dreams began twelve years ago while I was still practically a child myself, attending college and learning to cook in Madison.
The morning was perfect despite the fact that it was 28 degrees when we arrived, felt like we were in a wind tunnel much of the time, and Lilly had to don her Patagonia snowsuit (her very warmest layer).
We wandered without agenda, picking up whatever we felt like, which surprisingly included very little produce and a whole bunch of meat, cheese, and pastries.
I also bought myself some bee pollen from The Bee Charmer which I am incredibly excited for. Bee pollen is something I had never heard of until a bakery in Viroqua put it on top of a donut I ate a couple months ago. I’ve been curious ever since, so when I saw it at The Bee Charmer booth, I had to grab a little jar to play with.
Since bringing it home from market and consulting my community about this fun new product, my friends have taught me some things about it: sharing that bee pollen is extremely nutritious, good for adding to yogurt, smoothies, smoothie bowls, salads, oatmeal and cottage cheese, great for snacking on, and maybe even for using to add a little flair “on top of a bee’s knees cocktail” (is that real because I am into that!).
Obviously, I had to start with trying it on a salad.
The salad the bee pollen inspired in my kitchen is a sunny happy bowl of goodness that enjoys just a flourish of the bee pollen and a bunch of other sunny happy things like spinach just harvested yesterday, arugula from the hoophouses at Snug Haven, pecans from a black-owned cooperative in Georgia, and lots of citrus.
I also tried a new technique with the oranges in this salad called “supremeing” which really is just cutting your citrus into segments but I’d never heard the official term before (or tried it with a sharp enough knife). With the proper equipment, it was easy, and I love how elegant this super simple salad looks.
I hope you enjoy it! And I hope this recipe makes its way onto your table this spring.
Happy Easter everyone!
P.S. In case you wondering, no I do not plan to keep this exceptional pace of sending you three newsletters every four days. I really wanted to get you all up to speed quickly on where I’m at and why I’m so gosh darn excited about it.We’re close to there, and will surely reach cruising altitude soon— at which point I plan to stick to a more reasonable schedule of a newsletter every week or so for paid subscribers. It will be a little less frequent for the free subscribers, but not so infrequent you will have time to be sad. I promise. If you don’t want to miss a gosh darn thing, be sure to grab the monthly or annual subscription below.
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SUPER SUNNY EASTER SALAD
Makes 4-6 servings
Takes 20 minutes
1/4 pound baby spinach, roughly chopped if needed
1/4 pound baby arugula, roughly chopped if needed
1 ounce microgreens (or more if you’ve got ‘em)
1 bunch chives, minced
3 oranges*, supremed, peels and pith reserved
2 ounces crumbled feta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 twists freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1 teaspoon bee pollen, optional
In a large bowl, combine spinach, arugula, microgreens and chives. Add orange segments and feta.
Squeeze any pieces of orange peel that still have flesh attached into a small dish. Repeat with the pith. Measure out two tablespoons orange juice into a small bowl and discard the rest. Add oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth, creamy and emulsified.
Add half the dressing to the greens, oranges and feta, and toss to combine. Serve with remaining dressing, you may need more depending on your tastes.
Add pecans and bee pollen just before serving.
*For the oranges, use whatever size or variety you like. A mix is fine, actually, it’s better. I used two navel oranges and one clementine. You could use blood oranges or grapefruits if you have them, or even canned, drained mandarin oranges if you don’t feel like doing the whole segmenting/supremed thing.