I hosted Mothers Day brunch this year, partly out of necessity and partly out of “where can we go with 12 people, three of whom are under the age of 4?” Instead, I pretended that I was still in the catering business and made all the old comfort foods I used to create for Bar or Bat Mitzvahs. My house smelled like a synagogue. That is a good thing. I always cook to excess so that my family can take home enough food to have for dinner, my gift to them.
A smoked fish and bagel platter was a must and it was fun to drag out my old huge tray and fill it with homemade hummus (made with homemade beans, thank you very much). Whipped cream cheese, cucumber, Greek olives, tomatoes, red onion, marinated artichoke hearts, and jammy eggs.
Recently I spotted a recipe in the Washington Post from Ellie Krieger. The photo looked so colorful and appealing that I marked it “to make.” There is really nothing special in the salad except that the flavors taste of spring and cutting ribbons of carrots elevates the salad a notch. I switched out the herbs and simplified the preparation too.
I cut corners and prepped all the veggies the night before, put them in a sealed container, and made the dressing. I used frozen peas, rinsed the night before with lukewarm water then drained, dried and added to the rest of the vegetables. The next morning I chopped the fresh dill and then tossed everything with the dressing about a half hour before we ate.
Mother’s Day Vegetable Salad
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and both ends removed
- 2 bunches scallions, trimmed with white and light green parts only
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh chopped dill weed, stems removed before chopping
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bunches asparagus (I used the fatter asparagus and peeled the stems)
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed and drained
Using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrot into ribbons, pressing the carrot against a cutting board for leverage to get the widest ribbons possible. If the ribbons are very long, cut them into bite-size pieces, 2 to 3 inches long. You should get about 1 cup. Halve the scallions lengthwise, then cut them across into 1-inch long pieces. In a medium bowl, toss the carrot and scallions together.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the carrots and scallions and toss to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
Fill a large, deep skillet about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until firm-tender but still bright green, 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the thickness. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath (keep the water in the skillet boiling) and chill completely, then transfer the asparagus to a cutting board and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the asparagus to a medium bowl.
If using fresh peas, add them to the boiling water and cook until they are firm-tender, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain and transfer to the ice bath. (Add more ice if it has melted.) Drain. Transfer the peas to the bowl with the asparagus.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots and scallions to the bowl with the asparagus and peas. Add two tablespoons of the marinade to the salad and toss to combine. Add the fresh dill and retoss. Taste and season with additional salt, if needed; garnish with fresh dill, and serve.
PS: The next time I make this, I will add some thin slices of fresh radishes from my garden too. I am thinking this would be a great salad to bring to a picnic – put the veggies and dill in one container and bring a jar of the dressing, then combine a bit before you eat.