Much as I admire what local chefs are doing with regional, seasonal ingredients, I think of California as the origin point of fresh, flavorful and deceptively simple cooking. I was deeply inspired on our recent trip to Healdsburg, in the heart of Sonoma County wine country: From breakfast to dinner, everything we ate was bright-tasting, loaded with vegetables and layered with flavor.
At Chalkboard in Healdsburg, we enjoyed a leisurely dinner of shared plates that started with this gorgeous radish and avocado salad. Mind you: neither Rob nor I like radishes. But we agreed that we had to try this salad, and we swooned over every forkful. The peppery crunch of the radish, the smooth creaminess of the avocado, the simple vinaigrette, the toasted-seed topping — this dish is truly more than the sum of its parts.
When we returned home, I managed a pretty spot-on replication of Chalkboard’s radish and avocado salad. Here’s the recipe!
radish and avocado salad with toasted seeds recipe
For the salad:
1 medium avocado
1/2 bunch radishes (preferably the French breakfast variety)
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Handful of sunflower sprouts
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon good extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Slice the avocado and divide between 2 salad plates. Trim the radishes and quarter. In a small skillet, toast the sunflower and sesame seeds over medium heat until fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a lidded jar and shake to combine. Toss the radishes and spouts with a bit of dressing; arrange on top of avocado slices. Season salads with salt and pepper and scatter toasted seeds on top.