Photograph by Stephen Kent Johnson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Amy Wilson


Botanical Salad

Starters from Issue 8 – Winter 2016 – Origin

People in Victorian-era England were, in fact, so mad for ferns that there was actually a name coined to describe the affliction: pteridomania. For some, the craze was limited to zealously collecting their fronds to create delicate pressings, but others made it a more scientific pursuit, eager to ID new species. It was the graceful pressings of ferns and their botanical cohorts at the museum that informed our artfully frayed salad of bitter greens and roasted mushroom caps.

serves 4

  • 1 ¼ cups kosher salt
  • 8 large cremini mushrooms, stemmed
  • 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or cider vinegar
  • ¾ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ bulb fennel, very thinly sliced, some fronds reserved
  • 2 cups torn bitter greens such as frisée and chicory
  • ½ cup torn mint
  • cup torn parsley

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover the bottom of a medium baking dish with salt. Toss mushrooms with 2 Tbsp oil and place on salt cap side down. Roast until mushrooms release their liquid and edges begin to curl, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on salt to room temperature.

  • 2

    Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt. Whisk in remaining 3 Tbsp oil.

  • 3

    Just before serving, toss the mushrooms, fennel, and greens with enough dressing to coat. Add herbs and toss just once. Serve with a few reserved fennel fronds.