I’ve always been inclined to incorporate condiments into my meals. Growing up, it was primarily ketchup, something for which I still have an affinity. Standard yellow mustard was my second favorite, and then maybe barbecue sauce. Mayo and relish were never on the table — two options I despised growing up — though now I’ll eat them if they’re already on a sandwich. These days, I mostly use Dijon mustard, sriracha sauce and creamed horseradish, if I’m enjoying a steak.
But there’s an abundance of fresh, locally grown condiments available from area farmers that can truly enhance your meals without the need to resort to the sauces and spreads found in the refrigerator. I’m referring to things like fresh herbs, garlic and scallions. Juice from freshly squeezed citrus fruit is another enticing condiment.
This time of year, all these ingredients are thriving, and bring a vibrancy to dishes. When it comes to fresh herbs, they tend to have the best impact when enjoyed uncooked, either in a cold dish or when added to a hot preparation just before serving. Citrus tends to work equally well in cold and hot dishes, although I primarily incorporate it into cold dishes.
This week, with spring in full bloom, I prepared a Fresh Herb and Citrus White Bean Salad, brimming with refreshing herbs, garlic and citrus.
Sam Edelman is general manager of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association and host of “Farm to Table,” which airs live 9 a.m. Thursdays on KZSB AM 1290.
FRESH HERB AND CITRUS WHITE BEAN SALAD
cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1./4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 springs fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (discard stems)
4 green onions, tops and bottoms, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Juice from 1 Meyer lemon
Juice from 1 tangerine
Juice from 1 lime
2 large celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
3 Roma tomatoes, seed pockets discarded, diced
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern or cannellini beans
In a mixing bowl, combine all fresh herbs, green onions, garlic, citrus juices, celery stalks, salt and pepper. Gently mix in tomatoes and beans. Adjust seasoning as needed. Refrigerate and gently toss before serving.
Yield: 6 side servings