Harvest of the Month in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District | SierraSun.com

Harvest of the Month in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

David Lutz
Special to the Sun

Getty ImagesHigh angle view of salad in bowl

NORTH LAKE TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; This month is the last Harvest of the Month produce tasting at our local elementary schools for this school year. Students, teachers and parents have explored and tasted tomatoes, bell peppers, mandarins, beets, dried fruits, onions, garlic and herbs and all of the produce has been eaten every month! Salad greens are on the menu for May.

Years ago in America, iceberg lettuce was king and romaine was probably the queen. These days, itand#8217;s all about the spring mix. First developed in Europe and called mesclun, spring mix comes so many ways today, chefs almost need roadmaps to figure out what is available.

Red oak, green oak, tango, frisee, baby chard and red romaine, just to name a few, are available year round in just about any store that sells fresh produce. Grown in hothouses and under the sun, these greens grow quickly and provide us with great flavors and textures that can be served with just about anything. They can be dressed lightly with some virgin olive oil, vinegar and shallots but can also hold up to heavier dressings like blue cheese and, dare I say it, ranch.

Mixed greens create quick and healthy dining choices for the home cook and restaurants alike. Most of the spring mix these days is organic, mainly because these lettuces hold up better after picking when they are grown that way. Lettuces treated with pesticides tend to grow so quickly, they lack in both flavor and hardiness.

So, next time you are looking for a simple healthy meal, grill a piece of fish or chicken and serve it with some spring mix and your favorite dressing or try one of the recipes below. Fresh, tasty and a breeze to clean up, you can even feel good about having that dessert afterwards.

and#8212; David Lutz is the chef and owner of Evergreen restaurant in Tahoe City with his wife Heather Lutz, who is also a dietician at Tahoe Forest Hospital. Together, they focus on simple seasonal cuisine served in a casual friendly atmosphere. The Harvest of the Month Program is provided at TTUSD elementary schools through the Truckee Tahoe Nutrition Coalition. For more information, contact Maria Martin at 587-3769 or mmartin@tfhd.com.

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This is my favorite all purpose salad dressing, for it works with just about any kind of salad greens. Any extra virgin olive oil will do, I prefer mine green and peppery. We use a great organic olive oil from the California Olive Ranch at Evergreen. Itand#8217;s best to add the shallots at the last minute to keep their fresh flavor.

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 oz. sherry vinegar

1 Tbsp. minced shallots

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the olive oil and vinegar and whisk vigorously to combine. Season the greens with salt and pepper, sprinkle on shallots and add the vinaigrette. Toss gently to coat greens evenly.

This dressing can stand up to some heartier lettuces and preparations. I love to serve it on mixed greens along with poached pears and candied pecans. Try to pick a nice blue cheese like Pt. Reyes or Maytag, the better the cheese the better the dressing.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 tsp. lemon juice

One clove finely minced garlic

1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. minced chives

Combine everything but the salt, pepper and chives. Mix with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste with the salt and pepper and blend again, if the dressing is too thick a bit more buttermilk can be added. Add more of the crumbled cheese after blending if you like a chunky dressing. Stir in the chives just before serving.