read, cook, eat June 2009: Apple Avocado SaladJune 11, 2009
I grew up in a home where there were five different berbs and spices in the cupboard, usually vintage. They were: chili powder (for the occasional batch of chili or spaghetti sauce), oregano (spaghetti again), sage (roast fowl and stuffing), cinnamon (utility player) and black pepper, finely ground. Basic. Primitive really.
I have branched out. I am on very familiar terms with (usually fresh) basil, parsley, rosemary, even cilantro. But I was wary about tarragon and could never remember the blasted herb’s name. (“I know it starts with a T…”, and so I have at least half a dozen bottles of dried thyme and turmeric on my Lazy Susan of spices and herbs.) Having mastered the spelling, I have come to love the green, licorish taste of tarragon on fish and eggs. I was recently served, by a friend in Winnipeg, a roasted salmon fillet topped with yogourt, tarragon and preserved lemon. Spectacular. This recipe below was how I discovered tarragon. Thank you Bonnie Stern.
Apple and Avocado Salad with Tarragon Dressing
(clipped from the National Post in April 2008, where it was credited to bonniestern.com)
(The recipe notes you can add grilled or roasted chicken, turkey, tofu or vegetables, but only if you have a huge appetite; it’s filling enough on its own. dd)
10 cups (2.5 L) mixed greens, washed and drained
1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and sliced or diced
2 crisp apples, halved, cored and cut into wedges (I use Gala)
3 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges
8 oz (250 g) goat cheese crumbled
1 cup (250 mL) toasted walnuts
2 T (25 mL) lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced (I leave this out, as The Boyfriend does not like too much garlic, to no ill effect)
1 t (5mL) honey (I use maple syrup)
1 t (5 mL) salt (I completely ignore this to no ill effect)
1/4 t (1 mL) pepper (I go crazy with pepper)
1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
2 T (25 mL) chopped fresh tarragon
(BS’s more careful instructions follow, but here are my deviations: I start by making the dressing, letting it “steep” while I cut the apples, in the serving bowl, then tossing in the apples to commingle while I assemble the rest and by “assemble” I mean toss it all in and make a big, but tasty mess.)
1. Arrange greens in the bottom of a large serving dish. Arrange salad ingredients in rows on top.
2. Whisk lemon juice with garlic, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil and tarragon.
3. At the table, drizzle dressing over the salad and toss.
Serves 6 (imaginary, unhungry) people (or me and The Boyfriend).