May is National Salad Month and with the warmer weather finally here, there's no better time to give your oven a rest and enjoy a lighter meal.
Our friend Chef Ken Durbin, owner and founder of The At Home Chef creates custom in-home dining experiences across the Tri-State from dinner parties to date nights. Voted Best Private Chef in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, The At Home Chef does all of the menu prep, shopping, cooking and even cleaning (click here to see our recent review). We know Durbin loves creating salads using ingredients from local farmers, so we asked him for some fresh salad ideas.
He suggested a salad that's refreshingly simple, but full of flavor. "I like to start with fresh-cut lettuce from Roothouse Aquaponics, based here in Cincinnati. It's all non-GMO, naturally grown, and available year-round," Durbin says. "You can pre-order or do delivery, but I love going to the greenhouse myself and snipping right what I want from the source."
The Aquaponic method results in fuller flavors and their daily harvest schedule provides consistent freshness. Roothouse Aquaponics grows leafy greens, culinary herbs and flowers, and fresh tilapia that's free from pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers.
Durbin tosses the lettuce in some sherry vinaigrette and adds some English cucumber slices for a refreshing flavor and crunch. "English cucumbers are generally sweeter than regular cucumbers, which have a lot of large seeds and can have a bitter flavor," he explains. "The skin is also thinner and unwaxed on an English cucumber, so doesn't need to be peeled."
He tops this salad with some spiced pecans, goat cheese and an edible spring flower. "It's crisp and fresh, where the creaminess of the goat cheese meets the tanginess of the vinaigrette and a bit of spice from the walnut," he says. "It's definitely a go-to salad all Spring and Summer long."
Click here for a list of Durbin's favorite local farmers. Check out The At Home Chef Facebook or Instagram pages for more ideas, recipes and tips! Learn more about The At Home Chef here or contact Durbin at firstname.lastname@example.org.