The beautiful thing about this salad is that even the non-salad lovers can be easily swayed to the healthier side of life. The LA climate accommodates a wide variety of flourishing plant species, making fresh ingredients widely accessible. We even have wild mint and rosemary growing in strip malls and in gas station planters.
I kept it very simple for this dish: no foraging and no stealing fruits from your neighbor’s backyard. To prepare, we stopped in Cookbook LA, a tiny shop in Silver Lake known for stocking produce from the best local farmers. I selected a variety of citrus and spring onion, symbolizing the paradox of winter’s end and spring’s beginning. Once back at my apartment, we composed a salad made up of aggressive quantities of orange and lemon, a spring onion infused olive oil, heavily seasoned torn bread, and the remaining greens of the onion which I roasted until the flavours altered.
“California Panzanella with Winter Citrus, Spring
and Sumac Croutons.”
- 3 oranges variety (cara cara, blood, navel)
- 2 lemons
- 2 spring onions
- 1 cucumber peeled and cut into crescents
- 1 bunch red leaf lettuce picked and washed
- 1 avocado sliced into cubes
- 1 bunch opal basil
- 1 bunch mint
- 3/4 c. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. green urfa seasoning
- 2 tbsp. sumac
- 3 radishes thinly sliced into rings
- 1 baguette
- fresh passion fruit (optional)
This dish is inspired by panzanella, a traditional Italian bread salad, but substitutes oranges for tomatoes and mint for basil, which grows night and day across this land.
Take the spring onions and cut rings into the white ends all the way down to the green stems. Place the white rings in a sauce pan and fill with olive oil. Bring the mixture to a boil then turn off the heat and allow to steep until the oil fully cools.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F and tear the baguette into crouton shapes, leaving it rustic. Dress with olive oil and season with sumac and salt. Place croutons on a sheet tray and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they become golden and crispy.
Place the green tops of the spring onions on another sheet tray, season with salt, oil, and green urfa. Roast for 25 minutes or until the tops turn dark brown and crispy.
Remove the pith and peel from the oranges and cut them into 1inch rings.
Make the lemon spring dressing by juicing the lemons into a mixing bowl. Strain the spring onion infused olive oil in a cup and slowly whisk into the lemon in a fine stream so that the vinaigrette emulsifies.
Slice the cooked green onions into fine pieces.
Build the salad: lay down the red leaf lettuce, arranging the citrus on top and layering the croutons, radish, cucumber, and mint into your design. Drizzle thoroughly with the dressing and garnish with sliced green onion, sumac, urfa, and salt.
From the local grocer to the countertop, with ingredients so fresh your sure to stay in So-Cal.