It’s not the first time that Matt’s in the Market has dazzled me with an unusual salad. Past salads have included: quail eggs, smoked trout, blackened squid. And not once have I been disappointed. So when I saw this salad on the menu I had to try it. Honestly, it didn’t sound that exciting. Could just bitter radicchio, a combination of stone fruits, and a few pine nuts impress?
As it turned out, yes.
Keith and I were on a short getaway to Seattle, an early celebration of our 19th anniversary. It seemed appropriate to celebrate in the city that we had called home for the first 15 years of our marriage. Somehow we allowed nearly 4 years to pass between visits and we missed it. And feared it a little. Would it have changed completely? Had we exaggerated its beauty in our minds? Would the sight of those high rise buildings intimidate us as they did at first sight – both of us 23 years-old, newly married, unemployed.
No. No. And no. In so many ways, it still felt like home.
We love our new life in the high desert of Oregon, but it’s very different. It’s sunny 300 days a year in Bend, but it doesn’t have the lush green landscape of Seattle. We’ve found the people of Bend to be open and friendly. ‘Be Nice, You’re in Bend’ is a common, and appropriate bumper sticker. But it can feel sheltered and homogenous. When we headed out to walk Seattle’s streets, Keith commented that we’d seen more diversity in a block than we’d seen in Bend in 4 years. Diversity: ethnic, economic, emotional.
It was good to experience a more accurate human context, if only for a couple of days. It’s stretching to be among so many souls at once. It’s the thing that I love about city life and the thing that made me want to leave it.
I’m not overstating when I say that we had two goals for our visit: to walk, and to eat. We did a lot of both.
It was the first night of our trip that I had this salad. And I spent the remainder of the trip scheming how we might squeeze in one more meal at Matt’s so that I could order it again. But it didn’t happen, so I set out to replicate it the moment we returned home. And this one is darn close.
I can’t explain to you why the flavor combination is so perfect. And you might be tempted, as I was, to toss in some feta or goat cheese, but please don’t – at least not the first time you try it.
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small head radicchio, washed, dried and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 small head butter lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 plum, pit removed and thinly sliced
- 1 apricot, pit removed and thinly sliced
- 1 nectarine, pit removed and thinly sliced
- 8 cherries, pits removed and sliced in half
- 2 ounces pine nuts, lightly toasted
- To make the vinaigrette:
- In a small bowl, whisk garlic, vinegar, and mustard together. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- To make the salad:
- Combine all salad ingredients (radicchio through pine nuts) in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste; drizzle vinaigrette over the salad, a little at a time, and lightly toss to coat. (Reserve remaining vinaigrette for another use.)
- Serve immediately.