Alder’s Early Spring Salad–Aviandrian Recipes

Winter in Aviandria can start feeling really long, especially near the end when you haven’t had any fresh green food for several months. In the southern half of Aviandria where the climate doesn’t get quite as cold, it isn’t quite so bad, but up in the north, many people began to crave fresh green vegetables by the time the last of the winter snow begins to melt. Alder especially would keep an eye out for the first edible greens so he could eat something fresh and satisfy that craving. He would even overlook the bitter bite of dandelion leaves and make soups, salads, and a multitude of other things as soon as he could find them. A few early radishes and some nuts or seeds left over from the previous fall would often garnish the tops of these salads. Dillyn wasn’t particularly fond of Alder’s creations. Having something of a sweet tooth, he found the bitter dandelions a bit much to handle, but Alder created a honey-vinegar dressing that helped keep the dandelion flavor from being too overpowering. After this, Dillyn would still politely eat what Alder made for him, and was most likely much healthier for it.

Since this isn’t Aviandria, and we have more resources with all our modern grocery stores and greenhouses, we can have good salads with almost any kind of greens any time. Still, we can put something together that would be very close to Alder’s early spring salad by using a mix of early spring greens. Here is how to do it.

Mix and match from the following list of greens that might have been possible for Alder to find early in the spring. (Some would have appeared earlier than others):

Dandelion greens*

Baby spinach

Young kale

sorrel

very young beet greens

early lettuce (probably not as common for Alder, but can mellow out the other stronger flavors if you need something for that.)

Mix up your salad greens. Add some sliced radishes. Sprinkle with your favorite nuts or seeds. Chopped walnuts would probably have been one of Alder’s favorites. If it is early enough in the spring, it can also be garnished with violets. Last of all, top with the dressing. Below is Alder’s dressing recipe (amounts adapted to our standards of measurement).

1/4 C. Olive oil (there are lovely olive groves in the southern part of Aviandria around Accipitridaelynn)

2-3 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 large Tbs. Honey

Mix well, and eat on any salad you want, but it does complement this early spring mix especially well.

Of course, you can always add your own twist to any salad, but hopefully, this little bit of Aviandria gives you something fun for the spring time, and help you remember how lucky we really are to have fresh, green food all year round.

*When harvesting dandelions, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you are getting them from somewhere that hasn’t been sprayed with any herbicides. Second, make sure it is really dandelions you are picking. There are several plants that look relatively close that can be poison. Here are some things to watch for. Make sure the edge of the leaf has “teeth,” or looks majorly serrated. Also, dandelion leaves will be smooth on the bottom. There won’t be any little hairs or spines on the underside. One last hint, the younger the dandelion, the less bitter it will be. If you can catch them before they start to bloom, it won’t be nearly as strong.

What do you put in your favorite salad? Is there something you look forward to in the spring that you can’t get in the winter? 

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