Watermelon Radish with Wild Watercress, Cremini Mushrooms, and Honey-Sherry Vinaigrette
“It’s six o’clock in the morning. I’ve been awake since midnight after an unfortunate incident involving a sleepy, careless brunette-haired monster who ruthlessly edged her way into the slender crack in the couch next to me. I’ve been planning my course of action, my revenge, if I can confide, for the better part of the sleepless night. I am to wake her at sunrise and carry on with my plan from there. “At sunrise”, I tell myself… at sunrise.
I poke her shoulder with my pointed finger and whisper in the delicate tone of a scheming child, “Brittany…? Brittany…?” No response; impatient with my plan I tap harder, to be sure that I wake her, as she had done to me, and mutter in my revised but still unassuming tone, “do you want to go to the farmer’s market with me?” The question resonates for an eternity until she finally musters a response…” To be continued.
…just a snippet from my upcoming food inspired novel… kidding, of course.
It is a true story, however. And although it wasn’t in the dramatic fashion usually evoked from the phrase, she did say ‘yes.’ But only after much poking, prodding, and deal making.
The market I’m referring to is the Pepper Place Market in downtown Birmingham, about a 45 minute drive from where we are in the Tuscaloosa, a college town located in the southwest region of Alabama. If you remember (see: Pepper Place Farmer’s Market) we had eagerly gone in February only to find little in the way of fresh food. But this time was sure to be different. Pepper Place had officially opened for spring and I was determined to go, come Hell or high water.
As it turned out, it was completely worth it. Farm fresh strawberries, rutabaga, parsnips, lemon thyme, and other early-in-the-season goodies were abound at the market. But the star of the show was wild watercress. I’m sure you can imagine my amazement, “Wild watercress?!?! You mean you foraged for this stuff?” That’s right–wild watercress, it all it’s crunchy and intensely peppery glory (alongside a trio of cremini mushrooms).
Watermelon Radish with Wild Watercress, Cremini Mushrooms, and Honey-Sherry Vinaigrette (serves 4 as a side-salad):
For the salad:
- 1 large watermelon radish, washed
- 4 cremini mushrooms, washed
- 1 large bunch watercress, washed
- 1 cup honey-sherry vinaigrette
With a mandolin slicer, or a sharp knife and some amazing knife skills, slice the watermelon radish into 1/8″ thick slices. Slice the mushrooms 1/4″ thick.
For the honey-sherry vinaigrette (makes 1 cup):
Adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 chives, finely sliced
- 3/4 cup light olive or canola oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey, parsley, and chives. Slowly whisk in the oil, being careful not to break the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Music to Cook By: Ray Lamontagne – Trouble Click to listen for free at Grooveshark!“[...] an instant classic. Ray LaMontagne’s new release Troubleis one such record. [...] one is sure to recognize the instantly accessible sound, the righteous vocals, and the truly great musicality. But the truly great experience comes when listening to the full record, song after song of blissful melody and easy rhythm. [...] Trouble is packed with the kind of rock music that wraps itself calmly around your heart and squeezes, instilling warmth and a peaceful sense of well-being. – Hybrid Music
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