Claytonia, also known as Miner’s Lettuce or Winter Purslane, is a succulent green with a flavor and texture similar to spinach. When using this delicate leaf in salads, we avoid dressing it until right before serving as it doesn’t keep for long when mixed with other ingredients. If you don’t have claytonia on hand, arugula or another lettuce will work too! Feel free to play with other toasted nuts in the dressing as well - toasted pistachios or hazelnuts are especially nice.
For the Walnut Vinaigrette (yields approx. ½ cup)
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¾ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ shallot, minced (approx. 2 teaspoons once minced)
1 tablespoon soft herbs (mint, parsley, tarragon, etc.)
Salt & black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Season with more to taste. Ideally, let sit for at least 10 minutes before using.
For the Salad
4 cups claytonia
1 medium beet, peeled
2 winter citrus (blood orange, mandarin, etc)
1 handful of kumquats (optional)
Soft goat cheese or another soft cheese (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & black pepper
Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, shave your beet very thin. Add to a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of sherry vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a bit of black pepper. Toss to combine and let sit while you prepare the citrus. Cut the peel off the ends of the oranges, and then shave off the remaining peel with a knife by resting one of the flat ends on a cutting board and cutting in downward motions. Once peel and pith (the white stuff) is removed, slice the oranges into ⅛” thick rounds and set aside. Thinly slice kumquats, if using. There are often little seeds in kumquats so remove them as you go.
Place your claytonia in a serving dish, and arrange beets (leave some of their marinating liquid in the bowl if you are using kumquats) and citrus on top. If using kumquats, toss them in the remaining beet liquid before adding to the salad. Finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt, crumbled goat cheese, and drizzle the vinaigrette over everything. Enjoy immediately!