Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Beet Salad with Winter Citrus

This week tiny white flowers started popping out all over the garden.  They are each the size of a pin-head attached to a long wiry stem protruding from an umbrella of familiar round leaves.  Upon close inspection, they have a striking similarity to watercress.  Yesterday when I was foraging for wild herbs in one of the coastal valleys and ran across a stream bed filled with wild watercress, along the banks I noticed the same plant growing that I had seen in our kitchen garden.  After some research I identified the herb as Bittercress (Cardamin Hirusta) which like other members of the Brassicaceae family (ie Wild Mustard and Radish) flourishes as an invasive plant along the Central Coast.  Despite the name, I find the herb to have a pleasant spiciness slightly more subdued than peppercress. 

Tonight’s dinner salad is a classic rendition of three familiar flavor pairings - Citrus, Cress and Beets.  I crusted fresh goat cheese with dried green olive, fennel pollen and pistachio.  Kumquats were marinated with elderflowers and combined on the plate with blood orange and meyer lemon.  A sauce is made from fresh squeezed orange juice and saffron and a few leaves of bittercress are combined with wild red watercress to finish the plate.

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