Spring Greens Salad with Fennel, Radish & Miso-Buttermilk Dressing {plus a day in Sonoma}

Miso adds depth of flavor to tangy buttermilk dressing – just the thing to slather on baby lettuces, snap peas, shaved fennel and radish, all crowned with custardy hard-cooked eggs and croutons. 

spring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressing

Spring seems to have sprung here in San Francisco. Foggy nights give way to sunny days, the air tinged with crispness. People smile more. Strangers are a little less mean (except when parking spaces are involved). The first of the spring things are popping up at markets: rosy rhubarb and berries, pristine baby lettuces, burgundy spring onions, and pale green garlic.

Sonoma Countysonoma daySonoma County

Outside of the city, the wildflowers are out in force, the hills are green, and the air has a buzz of excitement. I got to spend a day among the flowers last week with fellow foodie cat-ladies Emma and Jessica. We ate, talked about cooking, took in the vivid scenery, sipped sparkling wine on the terrace of a castle – just the usual day in wine country. It was easily the best Tuesday ever.

sonoma day-4sonoma day-2

During a stop at Fremont Diner to line our bellies with hushpuppies, shakes, and avocado toast in preparation for the libations ahead, a conversation emerged about the various uses for miso. Not just relegated to soup, miso can go anywhere a bit of salty-sweet umami is desired, from brownies to ice cream to faux pâtés. A recent unexpected application was a salad that I enjoyed at Aster in December: a chiffonade of chicories coated in miso-buttermilk dressing.

Sonoma CountySonoma County

After sipping some bubbles at Domaine Carneros (hint: if you go, skip the samplers and go straight to the Ultra Brut), we headed up to Scribe Winery to sample their dry riesling and watch the sun set over the vineyard.

Sonoma County

 

sonoma day-10sonoma day-14Sonoma CountySonoma County

It was hard to leave the winery, but dinner called in nearby Glen Ellen. At Glen Ellen Star, we devoured creamy tomato pizza, wood-fired sunchokes and cauliflower, and brown butter pecan ice cream. But first, a salad of spring greens topped with shaved radishes, croutons, and boiled eggs with soft yolks, all coated in a nap of creamy dressing. Emma took a bite and said, “This was a good idea.” The simple salad acted as a brisk palate cleanser for the riches that came before and those that still lay ahead.

spring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressing

I’ve been toying with this miso-buttermilk dressing for the past couple of months, often on chicories with slices of apple and toasted pecans. A bit of white miso adds and extra layer of flavor, and the dressing, barely adapted fromadapted from Grace Parisi via Food & Wine, takes mere minutes to whip up. It goes equally well on crisp little gems and whatever crunchy spring vegetables you happen to have on hand. I’m currently loving a mix of sweet snap peas, herbaceous fennel shaved paper thin, and slices of radish, watermelon radish, and pungent Tokyo turnips. Eggs cooked until the whites are firm and the yolks are still a bit custardy add substance, as do warm croutons crisped in olive oil.

spring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressing

Whether you toss it all together or layer it on a platter, this salad will sing of spring. Serve as a light main dish for two, or as part of a larger spread for more.

spring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressingspring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressing

If you make this, I’d love to see! Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #BojonGourmet.

spring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressing

Spring Greens Salad with Miso-Buttermilk Dressing
Yields: 2-4 servings
 
The salad measurements here are loose - just a guide. Feel free to throw in whatever you like. You'll have enough dressing for several salads, and it keeps, refrigerated airtight, for up to a week. Dressing adapted from Grace Parisi via Food & Wine.
Ingredients
Dressing (makes 1 cup):
  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons white miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) good mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk
  • a few turns of black pepper
Salad:
  • 3 large eggs (preferably farmer's market quality and several days old for easier peeling)
  • 2 thick slices crusty bread, cut into 1” cubes (I use Bread Srsly Gluten-Free Seeded Sourdough)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • ~4 cups baby lettuce leaves (preferably little gems), washed and spun dry
  • ½ of a medium fennel bulb, sliced paper-thin (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced radish, watermelon radish, Tokyo turnips, or a combination
  • large handful snap peas, stems trimmed
  • flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • black pepper
Instructions
Make the dressing:
  1. In a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic with the salt and miso to form a paste. Work in the mayonnaise, then the sour cream, vinegar, buttermilk, and pepper, whisking until smooth. Cover and chill until needed.
Make the salad:
  1. Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cool water by an inch. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Immediately remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 5-6 minutes. Drain the eggs and cover with ice and cold water to stop the cooking. Let stand at least 10 minutes, then carefully crack, peel, and rinse the eggs.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the bread cubes and cook until golden on each side, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and let cool.
  3. To assemble the salad, place the lettuce leaves on a large platter or in a large bowl and add the fennel, radish, and snap peas. Toss with 2-4 tablespoons dressing, to taste, a few pinches of flaky salt, and a turn or two of pepper. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and place atop the salad along with the croutons, drizzled with a little more dressing. Serve immediately.

spring greens salad with fennel, radish, and miso-buttermilk dressing

 

20 thoughts on “Spring Greens Salad with Fennel, Radish & Miso-Buttermilk Dressing {plus a day in Sonoma}”

  1. Has there ever been a salad more beautiful??? SO excited about the springtime produce coming in! I’m so envious of your day in wine country with those two! (Also – wood-fired sunchokes?? Make those next, k?).

  2. This is really gorgeous Alanna! And as I sit here, listening to the forecast for a snowstorm tonight, the idea of moving to California is sounding pretty stellar. We are quite a long while from wildflowers and Spring veggies so I am just going to live vicariously through you for the moment. This salad is everything I want to eat right now!

  3. Gorgeous!! I can’t wait to make this! So, question about miso – I’ve always been afraid to buy it because I don’t think I’ll use it all before it goes bad. Is it available in very small quantities anywhere? Like online? Or, if not, how do you store leftovers and for how long?
    Love your blog Alanna; it’s one of the absolute bright spots to my week. Keep up the amazing :)

    1. Don’t be afraid of miso! It’s fermented, so it keeps for a really long time – at least 6 months in the fridge and probably longer. I’ve never had a jar go bad. And you use quite a lot of it in a batch of miso soup – about half a cup for 4-6 servings. I bet once you have some, you’ll find more uses for it. :)

  4. Gorgeous photos + recipe! You make me crave for spring — up here in Canada it’s still snowing, and we don’t get our first spring blossoms until April or May. Once it does get warmer, though, this is probably one of the first salads I’m going to make :)

  5. What a beautiful day in Sonoma! I love San Francisco in the spring, and I can’t wait to make it back someday :)
    I’ve been adding miso to everything I make lately, but I haven’t tried it as a salad dressing ingredient. What a lusciously tart and umami dressing this must be. I’ll be adding it to mountains of butter lettuce (we are in the last throes of summer here), sweet cherry tomatoes, and some crispy GF croutons. Thank you for the delicious idea, and for sharing your beautiful Sonoma photos :)

  6. All of the photos here are stunning (as always – there is genuinely not a single blog who’s photos wow me more than yours!) and I am forever grateful for another way to use miso. It is seriously a wonder ingredient.

  7. Loved the dressing! For several reasons I had to make some changes to the salad itself, but kept crunchy salad, sugar snap peas, fennel and radishes, and it was a winner. Will pull it out again next week for a party, and am SO happy I have leftovers today.

  8. I kept gasping out loud as I scrolled through this post — oooh you caught the smoke from the fire! oooh look at that beautiful overhead! OMG the MOST beautiful eggs!!!! I want to redo this day and eat and drink everything all over again. Love how you tied your thoughts from the day into this salad recipe which looks GORGEOUS. Looks like I’m going to have to start experimenting with miso after all ^_^
    xo

  9. This is the best green, spring salad! My grandmother lives in Bulgaria and there she is making me a green salad which looks almost like this but she uses cucumber and fresh onion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *