The Blonde Salad
Earlier this year I became fascinated with The Blonde Salad. I’m not talking about an actual salad, but an Italian fashion blogger, Chiara Ferragni, who's blog, The Blonde Salad, began with a simple post of her in the nude holding a naked Barbie doll (head and shoulders view, of course.)
I decided an actual blonde salad recipe in Italian antipasto style would be fun to make. Like fashion, the salad ingredients can be thought of as accessories from her world travels. A head of butter lettuce is the base of this blonde salad, then adding anything pleasingly light in color--- combining farro, shaved fennel, slivered almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, a golden delicious apple, slivers of golden beet, salty crumbles of feta, garbanzos, roasted cauliflower, celery slivers, then a pop of color using pomegranate arils and squash blossoms, all dressed up with fresh lemon juice, tahini, mustard, olive oil and a splash of citrus vinegar.
Chiara Ferragni (The Blonde Salad) is a living, breathing, walking, strolling, coffee sipping fashion model/magazine/editor-in-chief and mastermind of her own business. Harvard Business Review did a case study of The Blonde Salad (the first blogger case study) to decode her success. She didn’t start out with 4.3+ million Instagram followers back in 2009. So how did she do it? Scrolling through Chiara’s Instagram feed--- she maintains her own namesake account @chiaraferragni with those 4.3+m followers. I’ve been intrigued with how her partnerships with high fashion brands have fueled the modern Insta-famous millennial maven from her beginning salad days into The Blonde Salad.
Since I’ve scrolled through many feeds on Instagram full of food and fashion, I was inspired to make The Blonde Salad Recipe. As with accessorizing, if you can't find certain ingredients, mix and match to create your own style. I hope you enjoy this fresh fashion-inspired recipe.
The Blonde Salad
1 head butter lettuce, freshly washed, torn
1 large golden delicious apple, chopped fine (a pear is a good substitute)
2 ribs celery (with leaves), sliced in ½ thick slivers
½ cup slivered blanched almonds
2 cups farro, cooked (quinoa is a good substitute)
1/2 golden beet, shaved thin
1/2 fennel bulb, shaved thin
1 head roasted cauliflower, small pieces
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup pomegranate arils (optional)
¼ cup feta cheese (optional)
a few squash blossoms (optional, garnish)
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or yuzu vinegar
1 tablespoon Maille grain mustard (my favorite)
1 tablespoon tahini
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of white pepper
pinch of garlic powder
½ shallot, minced fine
Mise en place all of your ingredients in front of you. Have everything prepped before you begin--- wash and dry the lettuce leaves, shave the fennel and golden beet, chop the celery on the bias cut (a slight diagonal) and keep the leaves on, cook and cool the farro (or quinoa), roast the cauliflower and cool to room temperature, and have all of the garnish and additional ingredients at the ready in individual bowls.
Use a large wooden salad bowl. If you don't have a wooden salad bowl, don't worry. Use any wide salad bowl as you like. I happen to prefer the wood salad bowls. Begin your vinaigrette in the bowl.
Add the minced shallot into the bottom of the bowl. Pour in the olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar, then whisk. Add the mustard, tahini, white pepper and garlic powder. Whisk until well incorporated and a creamy consistency.
Take the head of washed butter lettuce and remove the leaves. Roughly tear each leaf into smaller pieces and place them inside the bowl.
Add the apple, garbanzos, almonds, farro, celery, fennel, beet, feta and pomegranate.
Toss the salad gently. Mix the vinaigrette from the bottom of the bowl, carefully tossing the lettuce and salad ingredients until well coated.
Place the salad into two serving bowls.
Garnish with extra ingredients as you like. Add the squash blossoms as a decorative edible flower.
Serve and enjoy. Buon Appetito!
Watch how I make this recipe on The Sensual Foodie Channel on YouTube