We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.



Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.


Last fall, a friend mourned the end of salad season. A few questions later, I understood that what she was actually anticipating was the end of the year’s tomatoes, peppers and basil, another thing entirely. There is never a time when there are no seasonal salad options.

Salads are as diverse as ever or even more so at this time of year, as lettuces, cabbages and other greens take on a delicious sweetness in cool weather. Salad mixes, such as those of Earthworker Farm in Sebastopol (they attend the Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday and the Santa Rosa Original Farmers Market on Saturday) have different ingredients, but they are as bright and delicious as ever.

The simplest salad, the one of nothing more than good lettuce, salt, olive oil, and a bit of acid, can be enjoyed year round. And if citrus is your preferred acid, it is a perfect time, as citrus peaks in the cooler months.

A squeeze of lemon brightens any salad, but vinaigrettes made with grapefruit, pomelo or orange are delicious, too.

Coleslaw is excellent in the winter, as are salads of carrots, celery, radicchio, and all manner of grains, especially farro, rice and barley.

For now, it is definitely time to turn away from out-of-season tomatoes and basil, foods that are best appreciated in warm weather.

Yes, you can get all these things in supermarkets, along with watermelon, apricots and peaches, but they are shipped a long distance, picked for travel not for taste, and leave us unsatisfied, whether we realize it consciously or not.

Our bodies, with their visceral wisdom, want the foods that are in season here and now.

Fresh pomegranates are both beautiful and delicious; this salad is an easy way to enjoy them.

Fennel, Celery and Radish Slaw with Pomegranate Vinaigrette & Fresh Pomegranates

Serves 4 to 6

2-3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed

4-5 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into very thin diagonal slices

1 bunch radishes, trimmed and cut into very thin rounds

1 small red onion, trimmed and cut into very thin half rounds

— Kosher salt

— black pepper in a mill

— Pomegranate Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves or cilantro leaves

1 cup fresh pomegranate arils

Cut the fennel bulbs in half lengthwise and then cut each piece into very thin crosswise slices; put in a medium bowl.

Add the celery, radishes and red onion and toss very gently.

Season lightly with salt and several turns of black pepper and set aside for a few minutes.

Make the vinaigrette, drizzle it over the slaw, add the feta cheese and parsley or cilantro, transfer to a serving bowl, top with the pomegranate arils and enjoy right away.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Makes about 1 cup

1 small shallot, minced

— Kosher salt

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or pomegranate vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice

— black pepper in a mill

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the shallot into a small Mason jar, season with salt and add the vinegar. Set aside for a few minutes.

Add the juice, season with black pepper, add the olive oil

Taste and correct for salt and acid balance.

In this recipe below, vegetarians can, of course, omit the bacon and use olive oil in its place.

Cool Weather Farro Salad

Serves 4 to 8

6-8 leaves of Lacinato kale, central stems removed, cut into ½-inch wide crosswise ribbons

— Kosher salt

— black pepper in a mill

2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

— red pepper flakes

— juice of 2 lemons

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 bacon slices

2 cups cubed butternut or other similar squash

6 ounces (1 cup) farro, cooking in boiling salted water until tender, drained as necessary

1 teaspoon ground cumin

⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 firm-ripe avocado, cubed

Put the kale into a medium bowl, use your fingers to fluff and separate the ribbons and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add a few turns of black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a bit of lemon juice and olive oil.

Turn the kale several times and set it aside.

Put the bacon into a heavy sauté pan and cook until crisp; transfer to absorbent paper to drain. With the pan over medium-low heat, add the squash and sauté gently in the bacon fat until it is completely tender; use tongs to turn it now and then. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Put the farro into a wide shallow bowl, add the kale and toss gently.

Put the remaining lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl or jar, add a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper and add the cumin.

Taste, correct for salt and acid balance, and pour over the farro and kale. Toss gently but thoroughly.

Add the cooled squash, the cilantro and the avocado and toss very gently so as not to break up the squash or the avocado.

Chop the bacon, scatter it over the salad and let rest a few minutes before serving at room temperature.

Sometimes, a cool meal on a cold night is just the thing, especially if your dining room is warm and cozy.

For my palate, our Dungeness crab is always best served chilled, served neat with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon or in a salad, such as this one.

Dungeness Crab Salad

Serves 2, easily doubled

1 large Dungeness crab, cooked, cleaned, picked and chilled (see Note below)

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 jalapeño or serrano, seeded and minced

1/2 teaspoon brined green peppercorns, drained and cracked

— Pinch of chipotle powder or smoked paprika

— Kosher salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 celery stalk, trimmed and cut into very small dice

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably 2017 Olio Nuovo

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or Italian parsley leaves, chopped

1 small butter lettuce, inner leaves only

2 lemon wedges, for garnish

First, prepare the crab if you have not already done so. Chill thoroughly.

Put the shallot, jalapeño or serrano, green peppercorns, chipotle powder or smoked paprika and a generous pinch of salt into a small bowl.

Add the lemon juice, agitate the bowl to distribute evenly and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.

To finish the salad, put the crab into a medium bowl, add the celery and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss very gently. Pour the lemon juice mixture in, add the cilantro or parsley and toss again.

Taste and correct for acid, adding the remaining tablespoon of olive oil if needed for balance. Taste and correct for salt.

Divide the lettuce between two plates, spoon the salad on top, garnish with a lemon wedge and enjoy right away.

Note: If you need instructions on how to cook and clean Dungeness crab, visit Eat This Now, my blog at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.

If you can’t or don’t want to cook the crab yourself, vendors at farmers markets and such stores as Oliver’s and Santa Rosa Seafood sell it cooked and most will clean it for you, as well.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “Vinaigrettes & Other Dressings,” which includes a chapter on seasonal salads. Email her at michele@micheleannajordan.com

Show Comment