Two Favorite Salads: Fennel, Cucumber And Mint & Roasted Trout, Watermelon Radish and Dandelion Greens
The month has been busy at work with a few really cool cookbooks I got to photograph, meetings for other books that will be shot that I can’t wait to shoot and work on. Long days at work left me little time at home, most of which was devoted to plan and execute the workshop I taught on Saint Simons Island with my friend John. Oh man…this workshop will stay in my memory as one of my favorites. Teaching with a friend is a wonderful experience, but teaching with someone you consider family is even better. We plan to do this again next year so stay tuned!
This past weekend I got to workshop with Tami, my other sibling in a parallel universe at the Mixed conference in the mountains of Virginia. We had a special three hour workshop in addition of our session and we decided to throw the attendees a real challenge by styling brown food, a very brown chickpea stew… Ugly food turned sexy and appealing under their cameras. We were thrilled to see how they embraced the challenge!
It feels good to take a few days off from work and do these. They are revitalizing to me. They are of course taxing on the brain and body but I love being able to share the experiences and resources garnered along the years. And meeting really talented folks who only need a little push to start unleashing their creativity and owning their talent. Watch out world, there are some pretty gifted photographers coming your way!
Traveling always takes a toll on the body and the diet. While I try to make good choices, I do lose my willpower once in a while and can’t always find the things that truly feed me happy such as lots and lots of veggies and fish. In between two trips and loads of late evening shooting, I make a point at eating both. Lots of salads with grilled fish, lots of soups with poached fish and variations galore.
These two salads are current favorites. A fennel and cucumber salad adorned with scallions and mint with a light splash of oil and vinegar. The other one is a watermelon and dandelion greens salad right from the farmers market bounty that I find right now, topped with roasted trout and a simple vinaigrette. Easy to make, simple and refreshing. A perfect little detox on a plate in between a few road trips or a couple of holiday meals.
Have a wonderful week and a cozy Thanksgiving!
Fennel and Cucumber Salad:
1 seedless cucumber
1 fennel bulb
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
oil and vinegar to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the scallions lengthwise, keeping all of the white parts and most of the green. Place in a bowl of ice water (it will make those lovely scallion curls) while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Slice the cucumber and fennel into thin slices using a mandolin or a sharp knife.
When ready to plate, layer the cucumber and fennel slices, top with the green onion and mint leaves. Grate half the lemon over the salad and season to taste with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Roasted Trout, Watermelon Radishes and Dandelion Greens Salad:
4 small whole trouts (cleaned)
1small bunch each parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary
4 lemon slices
salt and pepper
6 cups dandelion greens (washed and stems removed) (or use arugula)
4 watermelon radishes (or 8 regular radishes)
vinaigrette (see recipe here)
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make 4 small herb bunches with a little bit of parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary. Place a slice of lemon on each trout, an herb bouquet and tie them to the trout with a piece of twine. Season with a little salt and pepper. Roast the trout for about 10-12 minutes. Let cool. Remove the herbs and skin from the trout and flake carefully the flesh into a medium bowl. Be careful of the bones!
Assemble the salad by combining the greens, radishes, scallions and trout in a large bowl. Toss with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup vinaigrette and serve immediately.