Shaved Root Vegetable Salad
When it comes to vegetables, roots are kind of an anonymous workhorse. They aren’t trendy like kale and they can’t compete with the sexy sweetness of a tomato, but they’re there for us in cold storage all winter. Roasting is the general way to dispatch them, and that’s fine. But there’s a moment when they are young and exciting. That’s the perfect time to use them in a shaved root vegetable salad. Look for red and purple carrots, and the newest of the crop of watermelon radishes. They are colorful, packed with flavor and begging for a moment of stardom. One taste, and you’ll be begging for their moment of stardom, too.
See Cook’s Note on using a mandoline.
for the vinaigrette
Zest the orange onto cutting board and then squeeze juice into a small bowl and set aside. Measure 3 tablespoons juice, reserving any remaining juice into a jar or container with a tight fitting lid. Add 1 teaspoon of zest, olive oil, vinegar, Sriracha, salt and pepper. Tighten the lid and shake to combine.
for the salad
Use a mandoline or a very sharp knife to thinly slice root vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Loosen mandoline to make thicker slices and cut apple into 1/4-inch rounds. (If whole apple doesn’t fit, cut it in half.) Place apple slices in bowl with the reserved orange juice and toss to coat to prevent browning. Cut apples into matchsticks, return to bowl and toss to coat with juice. Chop peanuts and add to vegetables. Shake the vinaigrette to blend, pour it on top of vegetables and gently toss to combine, separating any slices that stick together. Fold in the herbs and apples. Garnish with the coppa and serve.
A favorite tool of the professional cook, mandolines can be helpful for the home cook, too, with a little caution. Use the hand guard that comes with it and be careful. The blade is as sharp as it looks. Attach the vegetable to the hand guard and don’t go too fast. Guide your vegetable toward the blade with the guard firmly attached and watch how thick the cut is. If you want it thinner, adjust the the blade according to the instructions. Continue to test and adjust until you’ve got it. Proceed with caution and find a good rhythm. Stop when the vegetable is about 1/2-inch thick. Cut what’s left with a knife. You don’t want your fingers getting too close to the mandoline blade.