Crispy Leek Greens, Sunflower Seed & Arugula Salad

Not sure what to do with those leek tops? It takes a few minutes, but fry them up and throw them in this salad with spicy arugula and nutty seeds! It’s a perfect spring side dish.

 

I’ve started “cooking on Instagram” on Sundays (and some Fridays). The idea is to “clean out my fridge before the next week starts”, and what that really means is that “I’m taking all the disenfranchised vegetables and meat scraps I’ve accumulated throughout the week and trying to make them look attractive and redeemable, for Instagram.”

It’s been a fun and sort of free-associating cooking experience, and rather delightful to publish into my stories and let the universe (YES THE UNIVERSE) have a reaction. Friends I haven’t chatted with in awhile keep reaching out and want to talk about dinner or weird vegetables with me – and that alone makes it WORTH IT. Who said social media never did nothing for the peoples.

Anyhoosies, I was really pleased with how this scraps-from-the-fridge salad turned out, and thought it deserved it’s own published recipe.

Congratulations baby salad, you’re going to college.

 

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The finished version had parmigiano reggiano, but the salad packs a flavor punch enough on its own it’s not needed (and if there’s a vegan homie getting in on this salad.) But cheese is nice. Choose your own adventure. 

Crispy Leek Greens, Sunflower Seeds & Arugula Salad

Yield: 4 side salads

For Salad:

  • Tops of 2 leeks
  • About 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • Neutral frying oil, like vegetable oil or canola oil
  •  1 1/2 cups loosely packed arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 T toasted sunflower seeds
  • Grated parmiagiano reggiano, to taste

For Dressing:

  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or microplaned
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Equipment:

  • pan for deep-frying (like cast iron, or other thick-bottomed pan)
  • slotted spoon
  • thermometer
  1. Thoroughly wash leek tops by submerging in cold water, agitating, then removing from cold water. Check for dirt. Let dry.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice leeks into 1/8″ shoe strings. Place into shallow bowl, and sprinkle evenly with salt. It’ll look like a lot of salt – you’ll be rinsing it off.344659353-1
  3. Set bowl aside while you make the dressing.
  4. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, garlic, mustard & black pepper. Drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Add salt, pinchful at a time, checking for seasoning. Once it tastes perky, a little sweet, and very flavorful, you’re there. Set dressing aside.
  5. Rinse off leeks and let dry on paper towels, dabbing to help remove moisture.
  6. Heat oil in large cast iron pan to 300 degrees. Once oil is heated, add about 1/4 of the leeks (you’ll probably need to fry them in about 3 or 4 batches.) There might be some water cooking off the leeks for the first few seconds, so stand back to avoid spatter.

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    Did a pretty crap job of editing the text on this one – probably because I was distracted by hot oil? Hooray for paying attention! 

  7. Fry until just starting to brown. Use slotted spoon to remove leeks from oil, and place on paper towel to drain.
  8. Once all leeks are fried and starting to cool, dress the salad. Toss arugula, sunflower seeds and dressing in a large bowl (remember, use the amount of dressing that YOU like. You might want more or less dressing on the leaves. Start with a little bit, taste, and add more as feels right.)
  9. Place dressed greens and seeds on serving plate, and add crispy leeks to top. By using crispy leeks as a garnish, they’ll stay crispy longer.
  10. Finish with grated parmigiano reggiano to finish, if desired.
  11. EAT IT.
This salad is *exceptional* when you get hearty, spicy arugula from a farmer. It blows the common grocery store fodder out of the water – however, the conventional stuff will get the job done. 

 

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Mandarin Orange Upside Down Cake Recipe

Follow @olrikitiki on instagram for #cleaningoutthefridge posts. Most Sundays.

Have a weird amount of mandarin oranges leftover from your Imperfect Produce box? Ready to end the winter citrus orgy in your fridge? Time to make THIS CAKE, GUYS. Sticky and delicious mandarin oranges with just a hint of a molasses from the brown sugar on top of the most tender and delicate pound cake. Oh my gosh.

Giving the oranges a quick blanch helps soften the rind, and makes the whole orange easy to chew and perfect for topping a cake. Don’t skip that step.

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Yield: 1 9×5 loaf pan. Serves 8 hearty slices.

Ingredients

For Fruity Topping:

  • 3 Mandarin Oranges
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) soft butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
  • Pan spray

For Cake:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) soft butter
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Orange zest from 1/2 orange
  • Lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 2 mandarin oranges
  •  1 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
  •  1/4 tsp baking soda
This recipe was converted from grams. Let me know in the comments if you’d like a copy of it in grams! Here’s why baking in grams is awesome. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Place rack in center of oven. Thoroughly spray loaf pan with pan spray.
  2. Prepare the fruit topping: Thickly apply 1/4 cup soft butter to bottom of greased loaf pan. Sprinkle in brown sugar, and pat down.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. While you’re waiting for it to boil, get a sharp knife, and thinly slice mandarin oranges into rounds. (If you want to make it easier on yourself, cut mandarins in half, then slice into half wheels. It’s easier to slice them when they have a flat edge to rest on your cutting board.) Once water is boiling, put your slices into the pot, and lower temperature to a very gentle simmer. Poach slices for 3 minutes, making sure they don’t get jostled too hard in the pan.
  4. Remove slices from pot using a spider or slotted spoon, and place in flat layer on a plate. Put plate into freezer just for a few minutes – this is to stop the cooking process of the oranges AND to make them a touch-able temperature.
  5. Once your oranges are cool to the touch, pull them out of the freezer. Place mandarin slices on top of brown sugar, gently overlapping. Keep in mind fruit will shrink up while cooking. (If you look at the cake in my pics, there’s quite a few gaps in fruit. It’s no biggie, but y’know…) Depending on how many slices you get, you may not need all your fruit. Make it pretty. Make it nice. Set aside loaf pan and start making the cake.
  6. Make the cake: cream together butter and white sugar. Use either a standing mixer or a hand mixer.
  7. Crack eggs into medium bowl. Into the same bowl, put your sour cream, vanilla extract, orange zest, lemon zest, and orange juice.
  8. In a small bowl, place your flour and baking soda. Whisk together.
  9. With mixer going, alternate adding small amounts of sour cream/egg mixture and dry ingredient mixture. Make sure you have an even mix before adding more.
  10. Once fully mixed, place cake mix into prepared loaf pan. Smooth out with spatula.
  11. Bake in oven, checking after 40 minutes – but it will probably take about 50 minutes. Cake is done when springy to the touch, and wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.
  12. Pull cake from the oven, and let cool 5 minutes. Run a thin knife or offset spatula around the edges of the cake to help loosen the sides. Then, carefully invert pan onto serving platter, removing pan slowly. Ta da! Your beautiful cake!
  13. Allow to cool more before serving. It’s best slightly warm with a slap of freshly whipped cream with loads of vanilla (or RUM!) in it.

 

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