March 10, 2007

Winter Greens to Spring Salads

Winter tiptoed through Tuscany, barely chilling us and Spring has snuck in.

My tiny yards, front and back, are covered with wild violets, filling the air with a profume like a grandmother's hankie!

Iris have started to stick their heads up, yellow mimosa trees also are full early this year.

The hills are a velvet green and the wheat has just gotten long enough to bow in the wind, creating an ocean effect here in the countryside. Today, the wind was so strong that it sounded like the Pacific Ocean crashing along the shores, as it bent the secular cypress trees surrounding my house.

Our electricity is also bouncing off and on, but the wind clears out the clouds and the light is so incredible now, a few minutes without electricity are a small price to pay.
Hopefully those minutes will not turn to hours!

One of winter's gifts to us are the greens for salads and blood oranges.
Put them together on a plate and you have one of my favorite dishes.

At today's market, rather barren due to huge winds, we bought some beautiful salad greens with three kinds of baby radicchio, tiny kale and some other delicate plants

Blood oranges and fennel are a traditional salad served on their own with some thinly sliced sweet red onions and drizzled with peppery extra virgin olive oil.

I like to serve it on my salad, enriching an already wonderful mouthfull of flavors!


From the Central Market this week for class, we had the first peas, slowly stewed with new green garlic and olive oil. One of my clients calls this peas boiled in oil, but gobbles them up with a spoon!

The other fabulous veggie which has just arrived is the round zucchini for stuffing!
I think that my be next on my list of dishes to cook.

What do you think?


  1. A very small price to pay indeed. I love the picture you paint. What a lovely salad. It sounds delicious. I have been to the Italian epicerie today and thought of asking you about some of the things I found there.

  2. Thanks Lucy!

    ask away... what would be in an Epicerie Italiane.. in France???

    We do have some odd things available!

  3. J- there were little sacks of shelled peas and fava beans in the market of San Sebastian when I drove back home yesterday. I asked the Senora the price- 5 euros! I had just 5 euros in my pocket.

    Now I know how to treat these little green jewels- thanks!