Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Boston Lettuce, Snap Pea, and Radish Salad with Green Garlic and Buttermilk Dressing, and Goodbye Dan Melia!

Take a look at some of the lovely spring vegetables that my favorite farmer Bill Maxwell had last weekend:

Even my small daughters were interested in eating these radishes. They look like candy.
Snap peas are crisp and sweet. There was also some Boston Bibb lettuce, a favorite of mine, and I knew that I would make a salad.

Green garlic is such a treat. If you've never played with it, you should try. The whole thing is edible - use the green parts the way you would scallions, or fry it in the wok with a bit of meat and a little soy sauce. The head of the garlic is sweeter and milder than the more mature garlic in the supermarket.

I decided to try to make something like creamy buttermilk salad dressing, and I wanted it to be a vehicle for green garlic. Reading the interwebs for recipe ideas, it seems clear that in order to make such a dressing, one combines mayonnaise and possibly sour cream or crème fraîche with buttermilk, a little vinegar, and then perhaps herbs other seasonings. I used a dollop of sour cream whisked with a dollop of mayo, whisked in a bit more than a quarter cup of buttermilk, a glug of white vinegar, the chopped green garlic, some salt and pepper. That's it.

I had enough to dress the salad and then to fill a small glass jar. I was tempted to put a $14 price tag on it and slip it onto the shelves of one of the groceries that front most of our Brooklyn restaurants these days. Instead, I ate the same salad for the next three days. And used the dressing as a condiment for a turkey burger. Tomorrow, I might simply drink what is left of it because it tastes that good.

My good friend Dan Melia, who is very sadly and very soon leaving NYC for greener pastures, came for dinner and we ate this salad of Bibb lettuce, radishes, and snap peas with this $14 hand-whisked dressing. Dan brought along a beautiful bottle of Riesling, the 2001 Willi Schafer Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett, and it was fantastic with the tangy-fresh-sweet-savory-radishy-lactic salad. The wine was so good though, that really it would have been fantastic with anything.

And so, as we have done many times before and will do again, but I guess much less frequently, we ate our food and drank our wine and talked about all sorts of things, and it was exactly as it should be when you are with a good friend.

Goodbye Dan Melia! I hope that there are great vegetables, decent salad dressings, great wines, great people, and great everything else where you are going. I will really miss you.


leviopenswine said...

Going to miss Dan!

Dan said...

A fella packs up his apartment and then moves its contents to said greener pastures, and he doesn't get to check his favorite blog for a few days. Very sorry--obviously!--to have missed this until now.

What Brooklynguy failed to mention in this post is that, while it's true that this particular salad dressing did not come from a Brooklyn artisanal grocery, he did still charge me $14 for it. Which I found to be a touch high.

Even still, I'm going to miss him like hell. We are all awfully lucky to be able to read this blog--for its humor, its intelligence, its ease with itself--but I count myself especially lucky to be pals with its author. Fourteen years in New York City and not much better than that.