Last Wednesday was a glorious day. The temperature reached close to 60 degrees, allowing for the enormous piles of snow to start melting. I took Maki for a longer walk than we've been doing these last few months. I spent most of the walk looking up at the sky and just breathing in the warm air. My spirits were immediately lifted. The world felt brighter, full of so many possibilities. And the normal stresses of the day didn't seem to bother me as much.
Of course, as I write this, we're clearing out more snow. Boston has officially broken its record for the most snowfall. Clap. Clap. Clap. Ok, now are we done with this winter weather? It's time to move on to spring.
The fact that I was craving salad at all was a sign that warmer days are approaching; days when we won't resort to bowls of soup and stew for our weeknight meal but, rather, something refreshing and healthy. A couple weeks back, I chowed down on a Burmese avocado salad at a local Chinatown restaurant. It was creamy but light and totally satisfying. I took inspiration from those characteristics as I developed this recipe, which is at once sweet, spicy, and savory. I went back and forth as to whether I should pickle the kumquats and, in the end, decided it wasn't necessary. Those thin slices bring the dish to life, the citrus notes cutting through the bite of the watercress.
This salad hits all the right notes. As I sat in our dining room on that beautiful day, the plate before me and a fork in my hand, the dog sunbathing outside on our porch, I was just totally happy. I look forward to more days like that; ideally with the windows open, allowing a breeze scented with blooming trees to pass through the house. That will be nice. Soon. Soon.
Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Kumquats
Yields 4 servings
Ingredients 1 cucumber, thinly sliced 1 ripe avocado, sliced 1/4 cup kumquats, thinly sliced 4 cups watercress (use red watercress if you want something with more of a bite), washed, dried and large stems trimmed Toasted sesame seeds
Dressing 2 tsps honey 1 lime, juice and zest 1 tsp minced ginger 1 tsp salt 2 tbsps sesame oil
1. Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients.
2. Place the watercress in a serving bowl and toss with 3/4 of the dressing.
3. Top watercress with sliced cucumber, avocado and kumquat. Drizzle remaining dressing on top and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.