An Invented Salad and an Adapted Lasagna

This past weekend, Mr. O happened to see a cooking show that featured a vegetable lasagna, and since we had yet to finish the grocery shopping, we thought, “why not?”  We asked our Dear Friends LG and AR to come over for lunch, and set about preparing the ingredients.

You can find the original recipe here. Since spinach and I still aren’t entirely cordial, we substituted kale.  We also caramelized four onions instead of three (we had the food processor out to make purees for Mr. Baby), and added sauteed porcini mushrooms (some progress in cordiality there, you see).

Unless you have the pre-cooked ingredients on hand, it’s a rather labor-intensive recipe.  To make things simpler, we cooked the squash and onions one day in advance.

Mr. O made the bechamel and assembled the lasagna, and it was unbelievably delicious. Creamy, sweet, earthy. a bit spicy. Perfect.

To balance the richness of the lasagna, I determined to make a bright salad with my new favorite fruit — kumquats. They’re tiny citrus fruits, about the size of a mandarin orange segment. The peel is candy sweet and edible, and the pulp is lemony tart. Eminently eatable, but Mr. O thought he’d prefer them cooked or in a salad.  And so, here is:

Watercress & Kumquat Salad

  • 1 pint kumquats
  • 1 bunch watercress

For the vinaigrette

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Wasabi mustard

Chop watercress very coarsely, and strew over a plate. Slice the kumquats, removing the seeds, into small rounds, and distribute over the greens.  Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a jar and shake thoroughly to combine, and pour over the salad just before serving.

The amount of oil depends on how much juice you get from your lemon, of course. The Wasabi mustard I used is a mild, sweet variety that was a gift from our Maine visitors — a slightly spicy counterpoint to the kumquats that picks up the spiciness of the watercress.

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