Sunday, August 27, 2006


Persian Cucumber & Avocado Salad with Microgreens

The sight of microgreens peeking out from their spot amongst the lettuce on the grocers shelf is a pretty exciting thing to a girl who loves her food. A feathery pile in shades of emerald and light green, royal purples and soft whites, they just beg to land in your basket and come home with you to become something wonderful.

Seems to me, that it isn’t often they are made available to the mass market, and then they are usually expensive. Not so if you are shopping at good old Trader Joe’s this week though! (Hey, as an aside, did you know TJ’s only sells booze in their California stores, everywhere else, its just wine and beer…tragic!) There they were, a small package for $3.00 and in with my purchases they went. I know a good thing when I see it!

I didn’t even have to give thought on how to showcase their delicateness. See, a few weeks ago I had a terrific dinner (because they are all terrific, aren’t they?) at one of L.A.’s premier dining stops, Lucques. The starter I ordered was the inspiration for this salad and it had me swooning in my seat. A perfect balance of bitter, sweet and acid, salty, buttery and rich. (That would be bitter from the greens, sweet from the cucumber, acid from lime, salty - well, that’s self explanatory I hope, buttery from the oil and rich from the avocado. See? I don’t just arbitrarily add descriptions!)

Using Persian cucumbers (small, thin skinned cucumbers with seeds you don’t have to remove) and some avocados that were still firm enough to hold their shape, I made this delight in less than 5 minutes (the photo shoot was harried too, since Boston Boy was hovering, waiting to get a fork in…bless him) just tossing it all together and then enjoying it whole-heartedly.

And for those of you with an abundance of basil this time of year, it is a perfect way to use a few leaves! The only thing I have to say in warning (other than this is addictive) is that the greens being so small, will wilt within five minutes of dressing, so don’t go tossing them in the oil too far in advance of serving, okay? Good.

There are lots of substitutions you can use too, regular greens of course, and hothouse cucumbers to start. It would also be great with a bit of shrimp or some cold smoked mussels. Mmm. So try this my dears, and enjoy!

1 small bunch basil, some leaves reserved for garnish
½ small shallot, minced
¼ cup highest quality olive oil
Juice of two limes
Salt and pepper to taste
6 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
2 medium avocados, diced

In a small processor or by hand in a bowl, combine the basil (if you are going at this all by hand, mince it first) with the shallot, oil, lime juice and blend until it is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with the rest of the ingredients. Serve with basil leaves as garnish.

Makes enough for four starter salads.


The greens I used were a combination of tatsoi, amaranth, red mustard, kale, beet greens and arugula.

Cucumbers are believed to have originated in India

Ice-cream-maker Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. said yesterday that it will drop Michael Foods Egg Farm, an egg supplier accused of mistreating chickens, responding to pressure from the Humane Society of the United States. -

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We've taken to shopping at Whole Foods which has great stuff. More so than Tj's in some instances, but boy do I miss TJ's for those GREAT bargains and deals. $5 moka java decaf coffee I'm REALLY missing right now since I ran out of the last supply brought to me from my parents.
TJ's is super fun! Never made microgreen anything before
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