Today I was out at Sooky’s salon, Noel Sy, everyone seemed abuzz with appreciation in the renewed spring weather. There was plenty to chat about with one of the owners, Michél, our conversation surrounding the theme of food and gardening, mostly herbs and vegetables. On my end, being a little more than enthused to share that Saturday past, I had spent the whole day planting the edible containers on my deck, from lettuces, hot peppers, strawberries, all sorts of herb varieties, and this year to include, a new patio grape plant, Pixie.
Also too, I shared my excitement in planting the vegetable garden just beneath the deck in the next couple of weeks. Being an individual who has long worked in a higher level of beauty and fashion for much of his career, Michél then shared with me a rather tender note about his mother who so loved gardening that in French speaking Canada some years ago, she was willing to even make life sacrifices in order to maintain her own small plot of earth providing so much life giving pleasure. Today, at 85 years of age, the garden size has reduced considerably, though still continues.
As it was time to begin my salon appointment, Michél then concluded with me something more profound on gardening, inspired as a touching and loving understanding about his mother, he expressed not only the richness of bounty grown from the activity of planting and tending a bit of earth, a value in knowing where ones food comes from, but too, on a much deeper level how the process seems to expand among those who choose to participate, a heightened level in sensitivity to a fuller awareness in beauty of the world all around us. And so upon my return home, eager to snip off and taste the new fresh flavors of the herbs creating today’s Spring Salad, Mustard Vinaigrette, I could only reflect on that which Michél had earlier shared, appreciating at a heightened level, bright colors, dense flavors, aromatic scents, abounding on one simple plate with a deepened sense and appreciation in the world for all of its beauty.
- 4 handfuls frisee broken into small pieces
- 12 small cherry tomatoes, mixed red, yellow, and orange colored, sliced in half,
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- 1-2 Persian Cucumbers very thinly sliced
- 12 little white potatoes, cooked until tender, boiled or roasted
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 4 fresh mint leaves, approximately, for topping salad
- 8-10 small leaves, lemon verbena
- 8-10 fresh purple basil leaves, thin sliced chiffonade, plus one tiny leaf per salad for topping alongside mint
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- good pinch or two coarse kosher salt
- good pinch or two cracked black pepper
- Decoratively arrange each salad plate with even amounts of vegetables, sprinkle all around with fresh chopped parsley and thin purple basil strips, top the center of salad with the mint, lemon verbena and the small whole purple basil leaves. Drizzle Mustard Vinaigrette onto each salad, serve straight away.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard with the vinegar. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil while whisking rigorously to emulsify, sprinkle with salt and pepper, whisk.