Spring Herb Salads

recipes by Sarah Lagrotteria 

Cancer-fighting, antioxidant-boosting, and nutritious. The medicinal and dietary value of herbs is long-documented and yet they remain an afterthought in traditional American cooking. Our recipes bring soft, fragrant spring herbs at the fore. If you’re hesitant, take the time to lightly rub them between your fingertips. Doing so releases their oils; one breath of the lingering green perfume will calm your mind and your cooking process.

French-Style Herb Salad 

Adapted from Patricia Wells
Serves 4

This is an all-out herb-only salad, with the option to add some young lettuce. Enjoy with grilled fish or toss on pieces of charred rustic bread brushed with olive oil and sea salt. Use whatever proportion of herbs you prefer, but don’t forget the tarragon. The anise kick is what makes this salad distinctive.

1 teaspoon good sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large handful each flat-leaf parsley, chives, tarragon, and mint, washed, dried, and de-stemmed
1 small handful baby lettuce leaves (optional)

In a serving bowl, whisk together the vinegars and olive oil. Season to taste. The dressing should not be too vinegary. Using clean hands, add the herbs and lettuce to the dressing and gently toss to evenly coat. Check again for seasoning and serve immediately.

Fresh Herb and Preserved Lemon Salsa

Serves 6 as a condiment

Chop these herbs by hand to release all their fragrant oils. Serve as a condiment alongside grilled beef or fish.

2 large handfuls mixed herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, basil, and mint, washed, dried, and de-stemmed
1 clove garlic, peeled
¼ preserved lemon, rinsed and finely chopped (see how to preserve lemons here)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Roughly chop your herbs into one large pile. Add the garlic into the mix and continue chopping until the herbs are finely chopped and the garlic is nearly a paste. Spoon into a small serving bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients. The oil should coat the herbs and pool around the sides of the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, or more preserved lemon as desired. The flavor should be fresh and a little sour. 

Learn how to preserve your own lemons: