Ice Water Salad

original recipe

I don’t buy books.

Let me rephrase. I don’t buy books except for cookbooks and even then I use the public library to rent them first and take them for a test run before committing. I’m glad I’m married because I have a feeling I would be a terrible internet dater.

I am very picky.

So when I checked out Joshua McFadden’s book Six Seasons recently with this same incertitude, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that unlike most, his was a book of depth. Technique and xxx play a huge role rather than a simple ingredient / preparation checklist. It is abundantly clear that he wants me to succeed without him there. I could imagine him saying “I’m not going to tell you everything. You have to trust yourself.” I like that. (I also like the last sentence of the book, his signoff: P.S. Don’t buy tomatoes in winter. Love, Joshua)

It was shortly after reading Six Seasons that I received the April 2019 issue of Bon Appétit in the mail, in which there is a recipe for ice water salad.

I can’t imagine this recipe being a particularly popular one. The title is kind of meh. It requires special equipment (a mandoline) and it isn’t all that interesting to look at: sort of one-color unless you seek out specialty radishes or vibrantly colored beets (which I will not as there is no way a beet will ever come within 100 yards of my kitchen).

Had I not just read Six Seasons and knew that the simple technique of giving crunchy veg an ice bath will make for the best salad of your life, I probably would have skipped over it.

DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE.

Thinly sliced, ice cold, crunchy veggies mingle with a lip-smackingly garlicky/salty/lemony dressing. The walnuts add heft and the parmesan cheese adds funk (umami, whatever). I want this salad as a side to braised chicken thighs (these) or stuffed inside some sort of bahn-mi-esque sandwich situation.

Get yourself a mandoline and make this immediately, if not sooner. And don’t skip the anchovies, you weenie.