My friend, Chef Tal Ronnen, inspired this spring salad. He’s the guy who cooks for power vegans from Hollywood to Washington, D.C. He just opened his first L.A. restaurant called Crossroads.
Crossroads is an awe-inspired restaurant because it’s vegan … but not the hippie vegan fare composed of sprouts and garbanzo beans. Crossroads food and flavors stand up to any fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles, but without the butter and cream.
Even better news, at least for us, is that Crossroads is a short walk down Melrose Avenue from our house. Marilyn, the boys and I can be there in 15 minutes and not worry about parking. Who says, “Nobody walks in LA?”
We had eaten there a few times when the boys asked for Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on their Wood-Fired Meaty Lasagna. We had to explain to them that this is a vegan restaurant, which means no meat, cheese, milk, eggs or anything, for that matter, that comes from an animal.
The salad recipe below is in Tal’s cookbook, The Conscious Cook. It uses Bibb lettuce and a few different ingredients than a similar salad that we ate recently at Crossroads. Feel free to substitute some fresh vegetables from your market or garden – I’m sure Tal would approve.
To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.
Bibb lettuce, Shaved Fennel, and Grapefruit Salad with Pickled Onion
Recipe adapted from Tal Ronnen’s, The Conscious Cook
1 red onion
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced paper thin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 pink grapefruit
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head Bibb lettuce, roughly chopped
1 fennel bulb, cut in half and thinly sliced on a mandoline
- Make the onions: Cut the onion in half and thinly slice on a mandoline. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, then chill in an ice bath. Place the white vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, ginger, red pepper flakes and mustard seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the onion, remove from the heat, and transfer to a glass container. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then drain and remove the bay leaf.
- Make the vinaigrette: Cut the grapefruit into segments and set aside. Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit shells into a medium bowl and add the champagne vinegar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the salad: Place the lettuce, fennel, grapefruit segments, and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Makes 4 servings
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