Samin Nosrat is the chef who taught Michael Pollan to cook.
She’s also writing her first cookbook, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: The Four Elements of Good Cooking” to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2017. This epic herb salad combines the richness of avocado and hard-cooked eggs with crunchy radishes and cucumbers, accompanied by an explosion of fresh herbs. All tossed together with a brightly acidic vinaigrette.
For the Vinaigrette
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small glass, combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, and 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the smashed clove of garlic and season with salt.
- Stir to combine and use a lettuce leaf to taste the dressing. It should be pleasantly acidic.
- Adjust salt and acid as needed.
For the Salad
- 3 heads little gem lettuces, or one small head romaine, washed and spun
- 6 radishes, washed and trimmed
- 1 Armenian or 2 Persian cucumbers, or a few lemon cucumbers
- Small handful basil leaves
- Small handful parsley leaves
- Small handful of cilantro leaves
- Small handful dill sprigs
- 1 ripe avocado
- 4 eggs
- Cook the Eggs:
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and gently lower the eggs in.
- Get a bowl of ice water ready.
- Boil for 8 minutes, then transfer to ice water.
- If the eggs are very fresh, they might be difficult to peel; I find cracking the shells and leaving them in the ice water for fifteen minutes makes peeling easier. Peel the eggs and set aside.
- Prepare the salad:
- This salad has four parts: the base of egg and avocado, the lettuce and herb mix, and the shaved radishes and cucumbers.
- Make the lettuce and herb mix by tossing the lettuce leaves with the picked herbs. If you don’t have all of them available, just used whatever you do have on hand—tarragon, chervil, basil, parsley, cilantro, and dill work wonderfully in any combination, and they lend a lovely freshness to the dish.
- Shave the radishes and cucumbers:
- Stripey peel the cucumbers, leaving about half of the skin on, and shave them using a mandolin or a sharp knife into 1/8-inch-thich slices.
- Shave the radishes in the same way.
- Assemble the salad:
- Halve the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large platter, not too perfectly.
- Halve and pit the avocado, then season with salt. Use a dinner spoon to scoop out spoonfuls and place amongst the eggs.
- Dress the lettuces in a large mixing bowl with just enough vinaigrette to coat and a pinch of salt—but first, remove the garlic clove and give the dressing a good stir to mix it up.
- Taste the lettuces and if needed, add another squeeze of lemon.
- Gently mound the lettuces atop the eggs and avocado.
- Finally, dress the crunchies with vinaigrette and a pinch of salt, until they taste just right, and sprinkle them over the lettuces.
Little Gem Salad with Fresh Herbs was first published as Crunchy Summer Salad with Hard Cooked Egg and Avocado by Chef Samin Nosrat, in Episode 5: Bay Area, of The Victory Garden’s Edible Feast © 2015