Friday, May 19, 2017

Watercress and avocado salad with apple onion dressing


Hi all! I was supposed to have a couple of relaxing weeks, but then congress set healthcare on fire. Since all of the legitimate activists in Utah were busy with Bears Ears and the rapidly imploding justice system, I ended up spending yet another week making snarky, desperate signs for my congressman to ignore:



In addition, I'm on week four of a new job and have two (awesome!) new roommate/landlords who came with dogs, a cat and a gluten allergy. I'm also up 23 baby leek plants that keep threatening to freeze to death, community permission to get ducks (!), and did I mention that congress set healthcare on fire? I feel like all my friends in medical school... except, you know, they're doing real person important things and I'm freaking out about how to stop bugs from eating my spinach.

On the bright side, spring in Utah brings a flush of volunteer edible annuals and perennials that remind me why I love my pseudo hippie-commune so very very much. Sage, sorrell, lavender, arugula, parsley, horseradish, more mint than I can handle... the wild areas of our community are erupting, and I want to eat it all, and right now. I find myself slightly panicked by the approaching summer. I've already missed the two week window where dandelion greens are edible and will have to wait for next year. What can I preserve? What do you do with three pounds of horseradish? How can I take advantage of it all, consume it all at once? Why, with this bounty literally in my backyard, am I eating so many tortilla chips? How does time keep passing so fast?


Do me a favor and don't psychoanalyze this one, ok?

Just last week I found out there was a giant patch of watercress behind my friend Kellie's house. Turns out one of my hippies, the one who was going to teach me how to eat dandelions, has been cultivating it for a couple years, growing it the unused space next to a spring. I've walked past it hundreds of times without recognizing it as watercress, or even as food. I would make the world's worst forager.


Nonetheless  I picked an entire basket before realizing I didn't have any idea what to do with it. Luckily for me the internet provided, and in the first couple lines of Google's search results I found a solid use for watercress and the best salad dressing I've made in years. It's got grated apple and onion and soy and rice vinegar and the special power to make a two ingredient salad (just watercress and avocado) taste so delicious even the most anxious among us can relax into spring.



Watercress and Avocado Salad with Apple Onion Dressing
Stolen from Epicurious

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated yellow onion
1/4 cup finely grated peeled apple (any Gala-like variety)
3 Tbsp neutral tasting vegetable oil
1 avocado
6 cups watercress, leaves and thinner stems only

A note on grater size: As directed, I used the large holes of a box grater for the onion and the smaller ones for the apple. If you have a four-sided box grater, I trust you to figure it out. You have a fancy box grater. You've got your shit together.

Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, onion and apple in a jar and shake until you're pretty sure the sugar has dissolved. (Alternatively, you could do this in a bowl with a whisk, but you know I'm all about salad dressing in jars. Built in storage!). Add vegetable oil, then shake or whisk again until mixed.

When you're ready to serve, put the watercress in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing- I'll leave the exact amount to you, but I like mine dressed pretty heavily. Pit and peel the avocado, then cut it into chunks and toss with the dressed watercress. Eat immediately.