Family Style Farmers Market Salad 

Story and Photography by Kerry Guice

Farmers Market Salad
 

I have a saying: “If you can see the lettuce in your salad, you’re doing it wrong.” A good salad should serve as a complete meal! Lettuce, tomato and onion are condiments for a burger—they’re not a salad.

When the weather warms up and farmers markets open for the season, our dinner gets more and more colorful! A few years ago I bought Kimberley Hasselbrink’s cookbook, “Vibrant Food.” It is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks to this day. She made me realize that I use the same philosophy as she does: a meal is finished when there are as many colors on the plate as possible. There’s something about having a colorful plate that makes the meal so much more satisfying!

The Hillcrest Farmers Market in Little Rock is open year-round, while the others usually set up shop in late April or early May. Spring veggies from the Hillcrest Farmers Market are a great find, and I love to eat seasonally when I can!

Last Easter, I made a family-style salad for our dinner, and it was such a hit that I’ve added it to our regular dinner rotation! What I love about family-style salads is that everyone can get a little or a lot of whatever they want. You can add whatever veggies and meat or fish you are in the mood for!

My main suggestion for a hearty salad is to add cooked veggies to the raw veggies for more flavor and texture. There are some vegetables that just taste so much better when roasted or sautéed. I always sear a few lemons, which makes the best dressing when combined with a little olive oil, and I drizzle the combo over each plate. Adding potatoes and meat or fish always rounds everything out to really feel like a meal. Even my cyclist husband doesn’t have to snack an hour after one of these salads, which is a clear sign to me that dinner was a success.

farmers market salad

SALMON SALAD WITH CREAMY LEEK VINAIGRETTE

SALAD

  • 1 head butter lettuce  
  • 2-3 new potatoes, roasted with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper and 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup English peas
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 8-10 asparagus spears, sauteed on medium high with  teaspoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese or goat cheese
  • 2 carrots, thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler into strips
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cracked hazelnuts
  • Small handful of fresh green beans, sauteed on medium-high with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs (I used dill and parsley)
  • 1 lemon, halved and set on hot pan for 1 minute.

FOR THE SALMON

3-4 salmon filets
Olive oil
Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Season the filets with a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat cast iron skillet on high until very hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and salmon filets, skin side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then transfer pan to the oven on broil. Broil for 10-12 minutes.

FOR THE CREAMY LEEK VINAIGRETTE

1 leek, white part only, diced and rinsed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sour cream
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon water

Saute the leeks on medium-low for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add to a Mason jar, then add the remaining ingredients. Shake until combined. Spoon mixture over cooked salmon.

ASSEMBLE SALAD

While preparing all the veggies, set them next to each other on a couple of plates when you’re done. When everything is prepared, assemble the salad by setting the lettuce on the tray first, then add the rest of the toppings as you like. Squeeze one half of the charred lemon over the salad, use the second as a garnish, and for more lemon if anyone wants. Pour the Creamy Leek Vinaigrette over the salmon (and the veggies if you’d like)!