Photo by Nolan Calisch

Nuoc Cham Radish Salad
by the American Local's Chris Whaley and Jenny Nickolaus
Serves 2 or more

This salad was CREATED for a woman named Rose (she's our version of Norm from Cheers). She came to our pre-opening dinner and loved everything, but said we needed a salad. Because it was the middle of winter a green salad was out of the question, so the radish salad was born.

1 cup mixed radish, sliced thin 1 tablespoon jalapeño, finely minced 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced 1/4 cup fish sauce 1/4 cup lime juice 1 teaspoon black garlic (Trader Joe's sells it), diced 2 teaspoons scallions, sliced Toss everything together until well-coated and serve.


Spicy Carrot, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad
by Departure Executive Chef Gregory Gourdet
Serves 6

This is a great salad for spring and summer when carrots of every color are everywhere at the markets. The cook time is fairly quick and the pickles are made ahead of time. This is a delicious way to start a meal, and it's also a great complement to seafood, chicken, or pork. Leave out the croutons for the gluten challenged. Sub honey or maple syrup for the sugar and you have a super healthy, bright, and fresh meal opener or light lunch.

For the cucumber salad:

10 Japanese or pickling cucumbers, sliced thin

3 large shallots, sliced thin

5 Thai chilies, sliced thin

1 medium knob ginger, about 2 ounces, finely julienned

3 cups rice wine vinegar

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well to dissolve sugar. Transfer to a smaller container. Let sit overnight or at least two hours so everything marinates.

To make the salad:

2 baby carrots, trimmed, peeled, halved, and blanched

3 cups sourdough croutons made from cut bread tossed in olive oil and salt

3 ripe avocado, diced

1 bunch cilantro, washed, picked

sea salt

extra-virgin olive oil

toasted black sesame seeds

In a large bowl combine carrots with cucumber salad. Add avocado, croutons, sea salt, olive oil (to taste), and cilantro. Divide among six small bowls. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!


Raw Asparagus Salad with Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Walnuts, and Mint
by Ava Gene's Chef Joshua McFadden
Serves 4

1/2 cup slightly coarse breadcrumbs, made from good bread (do not use crumbs from a box!)

1/2 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, finely chopped

1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated

1 teaspoon kosher salt

black pepper, freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes

about 1 pound plump asparagus, ends trimmed

about 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn

about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put the breadcrumbs, cheese, walnuts, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add about a teaspoon salt, a bunch of twists of black pepper, and about 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes. Toss to combine everything.

Slice the asparagus on a sharp bias into very thin slices and add to the crumb mixture. Add the lemon juice and toss some more. Taste and dial in the flavors by adding more salt, pepper, chili, or lemon juice. When the flavors are bright and delicious, add the mint and olive oil, toss again, taste and adjust again, and serve.