These are the literal salad days of the year–meaning the ones when all the tabloids talk up their dieting hotlines and 16 six steps to a perfect bathing suit bod, to the salads and smoothies that are the perfect antidote to all that holiday roast beef and whiskey-kicked egg nog.
We were never that keen on dieting in the new year–cassoulet season comes but once, after all! and what about the SuperBowl?–but salad is something we can get behind any time. And with all due respect to tomatoes and sweet corn, we’ve always been partial to the produce that appears when it’s frigid. When the crunch of radish and fennel bulb and kohlrabi start making it into the bowl, you might lose a little color, but gain texture in in spades.
One of our current favorites winter salads right now is at Jeffrey’s Grocery, on a little corner of Waverly Place in the West Village. It’s one of those places whose menu seems to nail exactly what you want to eat at any given time of day, be that brisket sandwich with red-beet horseradish slaw or an egg and cheese sandwich.
Both of those are surely satisfying, but when the sun is streaming in the windows on one of these (not so) cold January afternoons, try the simply named salad off the cafe menu called “Radish.” Two fat wedges of toast are layered with a few strips of Brie that melt into buttery stripes with a run under the broiler. Those are topped with whole white anchovies (those tiny fish are good fish, sustainably speaking) and a pile of paper thin watermelon radishes and frisee tossed in a lemony vinaigrette. Each bite has warm and cold; brine and sweet; a little fresh and crisp acidity balancing a bit of something rich and creamy.
It’s simple, and it’s also easy to recreate at home, which isn’t a bad idea considering its $14 price tag. But Jeffrey’s is lovely, and if you walk there you’ll surely be making headway toward that perfect bathing suit bod of summer.