Here’s something recipe developers don’t often share: We work a season ahead. When you’re gorging on tomatoes, I’m roasting turkeys. My time with tomatoes happens when the streets are snowy; I hunt for deep-red specimens that have any scent of summer (and usually settle for beigey-pink).
This crunchy, raw salad is one idea. It’s a little showy and requires little effort, especially considering that it’s built on root vegetables. It can be made ahead and accommodate many of the winter vegetables we know to cook and cook and cook.
To keep it from being a jaw exercise, the vegetables are softened using not heat but salt. Think about how cabbage transforms from crunchy slaw to sauerkraut or kimchi with time and salt. Or how kale slumps with salt and a massage. As salt removes moisture, the vegetables wilt, no longer taut from the water that was filling them out.
This method (and this salad) works with any number of crunchy vegetables and fruits, including beets, radishes, turnips, apple, pears, carrots, kohlrabi, shallots, cauliflower, fennel, celery, cucumbers and/or scallions. Other perhaps surprisingly delicious ingredients to eat raw include sweet potato, Swiss chard stems, Brussels sprouts and parsnips. Thinly slice them into bite-size pieces with a sharp knife or mandoline. Toss them with salt, acid and olive oil. The acids used here are lemon and white wine vinegar for a mix of sweet and puckery, but you could swap in lime, grapefruit or another kind of vinegar. The longer the vegetables sit, the softer they’ll be.
That said, while the vegetables will be relaxed, they’ll still involve chewing; a piece of cauliflower will never have the jamminess of a late-August peach, no matter how many head massages it gets. So the salad needs something plush to add comfort to each bite — burrata, cut open and turned inside-out to expose its ricotta-soft middle, is just the thing.
Beyond this simple combination of shaved raw vegetables, assertive dressing and creaminess, feel free to embellish as you wish, perhaps with red pepper flakes or soft herbs. The recipe includes poppy seeds. Have you ever really tasted a poppy seed? It’s floral, nutty and earthy; fresh ones smell almost dewy, like the wet dirt where your winter vegetables grew. They complement root vegetables nicely and add a surprise crispiness to everything they touch. Because poppy seeds spoil quickly, use them in large handfuls and store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
In addition to being a starter, this salad can be a topper to a chicken cutlet or piece of tender fish, such as salmon or cod. Without the burrata, it can mimic a relish or pickle and provide crunch and spunk to an egg or turkey sandwich. It can become a main-dish salad with the addition of legumes, toasted nuts, whole grains or toasted torn bread like a panzanella.
Just try to remember how you make the most of your summer vegetables and do that here — now. Summer cooking is all about immediate gratification.
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Shaved Vegetable Salad With Creamy Cheese
This mix of crunchy shaved vegetables, soft cheese and the floral pop of poppy seeds makes for a salad showy enough for guests. It can accommodate any number of raw winter vegetables, be made a few hours before serving and provide a speedy solution for using up all those cold-weather root vegetables. Use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to cut them into thin slices or matchsticks. Do not make long ribbons, as they may turn limp and soggy.
Make Ahead: The salad can be made and refrigerated up to 3 hours before serving.
Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, depending on the vegetables used.
- 2 (8-ounce) balls burrata cheese
- 8 cups shaved or thinly sliced crunchy raw fruits or vegetables, such as beets, radishes, turnips, apples, pears, carrots, kohlrabi, shallots, cauliflower, fennel, celery, cucumbers, scallions, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard stems, Brussels sprouts or parsnips
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 lemon, finely zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
- Fine sea or table salt
Drain the burrata and set aside at room temperature to soften, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the vegetables with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, poppy seeds, vinegar and a light sprinkling of salt. Toss with two spoons or your hands until evenly mixed and the vegetables are slightly softened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Taste, and season with additional oil, vinegar and/or salt as needed.
Divide the burrata between 4 plates, turning the casing inside-out so the soft, creamy middle is exposed. Drizzle with more olive oil and season lightly with salt. Top with the vegetable salad and another drizzle of olive oil, and serve.
Per serving (about 2 cups), using beets, radishes, apples and carrots)
Calories: 559; Total Fat: 39 g; Saturated Fat: 18 g; Cholesterol: 70 mg; Sodium: 372 mg; Carbohydrates: 17 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugar: 19 g; Protein: 23 g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.
From recipes developer and food writer Ali Slagle.
Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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