Summer salad with a kick of heat

Peppery baby mustard greens, matchstick carrots, and avocado mingle with a sweet, salty, gingery dressing in this salad.

The Garden of Eating
This flavorful salad with crisp baby greens and sesame dressing is hearty enough for a meal with its thick slices of avocado.

This perfect salad – crisp, filling, flavorful, exotic – is inspired by one I love that is made by Black-Eyed Suzie's, one of my favorite vendors at the weekly Woodstock Farm Festsival in Woodstock, N.Y. This post is a love letter both to the salad and also to the Farm Fest – one of my favorite things about our town.

All week, we look forward to Wednesday afternoon when we take the kids into town for a few hours of fun and good food at the Farm Festival. It's so nice to be outside, surrounded by friends and I truly love having one night each week when I don't have to cook dinner or clean up afterwards. Before I had children, I washed all my dishes by hand and enjoyed doing laundry. But that is no longer the case. So vive the Wednesday market with its delicious prepared food!
 
 Lately, our garden has been churning out kale, chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, onions, garlic, cabbages and herbs, leaving me with a pretty short shopping list, but I pick up whatever we need from the various farmers who spread out their offerings in the parking lot right off Tinker Street – Woodstock's main drag.

Then we walk across the street to Mower’s field where the prepared food vendors and the musicians set up. We turn our older son loose to run around, play with the bubble wands, Frisbees and hula hoops the Farm Fest provides or to scale the mountains of wood chips at the end of the field.
 
 We’d like to turn our younger son loose but it’s nearly impossible to pry him from our legs lately so he sticks close by unless his grandma takes him off to buy a small brown paper sack of apple cider doughnuts from Wrights Farm in Gardiner, N.Y. Thanks to his habit of wiping his dirty hands on his hair, James usually ends up covered in cinnamon sugar – it's how his nickname "Sugar Head" was born. 

My husband always gets a falafel from Aba's (the best!) and I often order whatever Cheryl and Juan at Black Eyed Suzie's happen to be serving up. In addition to their tacos, pulled pork sandwich and mac ’n’ cheese, people literally line up for a big plate of their baby kale salad with sesame ginger dressing, matchstick rainbow carrots and avocado (grilled chicken is an optional add-on). Sometimes there are radishes in it, sometimes not.

I like it so much that I’ve recreated at home a few times lately. I made my version with a bag of the wonderful baby braising greens from Sky Farms in Millteron, N.Y. – their gorgeous greens are sold at the market’s co-op booth. I like the tiny bit of heat the baby mustard greens impart. Especially when it’s in dialogue with the sweet, salty, gingery dressing.

Do not skimp on the dressing! It’s a delicious combination of salty, sweet, and the wonderful spiciness of the ginger. Go heavy rather than light.

Sesame ginger greens with matchstick carrots and avocado
 Serves 4
 
 1 bag of mixed baby greens - kale, mizuna, mustard greens, arugala, spinach, etc.
 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
 2-3 radishes, cleaned and thinly sliced (optional)
 Handful of sesame seeds for garnish (black is very striking)
 
 For the dressing
 1 garlic clove, pressed (mince it if you prefer)
 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
 1 tablespoon soy sauce
 1 teaspoon maple syrup or brown sugar
 4 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
 
 1. Make the dressing – simply mix all the ingredients together and blend well.
 
 2. Compose the salad – toss the greens, carrots and radishes with a generous amount of dressing, lay the sliced avocado over the top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Related post on The Garden of Eating: Lemony Kale Salad with Avocado-Coconut Dressing

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