During the summer when the local farmers' markets are in full swing, our chefs reach out to area farmers to take advantage of the natural bounty of the season. We have a brief but amazing growing season here in the Northeast, with irresistible produce making an appearance for just a few short months. Chef Corey created this delightfully fresh and simple salad from a mismatched box of produce that arrived with our regular vegetable order one day. He wanted to highlight the crispy, crunchy vegetables with a light, tangy classic dressing. This makes a terrific salad for a light lunch or brunch; it is beautiful and simple to put together. Feel free to vary the vegetables to suit what is in season near you and what appeals to your taste. To turn this salad into a heartier meal, crumble some blue cheese and/or some crispy bacon slices over the top and serve with crusty bread.
Special equipment: rimmed baking sheet, sieve
1. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, salt, and pepper until well blended. The dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
2. Place the eggs in a small saucepan, add cold water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water begins to boil, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the eggs sit for 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Remove the eggs from the water. Working with one egg at a time, softly and gently crack each eggshell all around and carefully peel it off while holding the egg under running cool water. Pat the eggs dry, halve lengthwise, and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, bring 3 qt/2.8 L lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, fill a large bowl about half full with ice and then add cold water just to cover the ice. Line the baking sheet with paper towels.
4. Drop the carrots into the boiling water and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Using the sieve, remove the carrots from the water and plunge them, sieve and all, into the ice bath. Remove the carrots from the ice water, drain, and dump them out onto the prepared baking sheet. This process, called “shocking,” will halt the cooking so the vegetables retain their bright color and fresh crunch.
5. Bring the water back to a boil and repeat with the peas, leaving them in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, and then with the green beans, leaving them in the boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, before shocking each of them, in turn, in the ice water and transferring them to the baking sheet. Replenish the ice bath as needed with more ice to keep it ice-cold.
6. Bring the water back to a boil and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until you can pierce them easily with a fork. Shock the potatoes in the ice water, scoop them out, and then dump them onto the baking sheet with the other vegetables.
7. Decoratively arrange the lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, eggs, potatoes, carrots, peas, and green beans in four shallow salad bowls. Serve the dressing on the side.
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Reprinted with permission from Flour, Too: Indispensible Recipes for the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets & Savories by Joanne Chang. Copyright 2013 Chronicle Books.