Leaderboard Banner

Luscious Salads with Steven Satterfield

by Feifei Sun

Before there was farm-to-table, Atlanta chef Steven Satterfield was focused on local food and organic vegetables.

Lovely Luscious Salads_inline1

Steven Satterfield tears greens for a salad; Photo by Heidi Geldhauser

Dubbed the “Vegetable Shaman” by New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, Steven Satterfield has spent more than 20 years working in Atlanta restaurant kitchens, from the famed Floataway Café to Watershed. In 2009, he opened Miller Union with general manager Neal McCarthy, offering Southern-inspired, unpretentious plates focused on local vegetables; a year later, the restaurant was a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.
Miller Union has received a slew of other best restaurant accolades, too, from national publications including Esquire and Bon Appetit. But talking to Satterfield, you get the sense that he’s not at all motivated by honors like these.
Satterfield is a chef who has been passionate about sustainability, local food and organic vegetables for decades, long before “farm-to-table” became a trend, or “slow food” a movement. And everyone and everything else—media attention included—has just caught up.
“I’m very focused on farming practices, the way animals are raised and slaughtered,” he says. “I’ve started thinking more about every source. Grains—what happens to them before they get to us? Oils, vinegar—I want to know more about who is making them and whether they’re doing the right thing. And of course, vegetables.”
Vegetables aren’t just the driving force in his restaurant; they’re also a big part of Satterfield’s own life. He was a vegetarian in college and credits plant power for helping him beat testicular cancer two years ago. “I started thinking more about how most of our vitamins and minerals come from plant-based foods,” he says. “I was already eating like that, but as I was going through chemotherapy for cancer, I really started to think about eating produce as a way of healing.” Today, he starts his mornings at home with a fruit and vegetable smoothie—kale, frozen fruit, whatever is in season and in his fridge—before heading to work.
Here, just in time for summer, Steven Satterfield shares recipes for bright and beautiful salads from the recently released Root to Leaf (Harper Wave; 2015), “a cookbook that
celebrates vegetables,” as he likes to say.
Heirloom Tomato Panzanella
Panzanella is a classic Italian peasant dish that is the best way I know of to use stale bread and ripe tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes tend to have a higher water content than beefsteaks, making them a better fit for this salad. I have tried a lot of panzanella salads that I did not like because the bread became too soggy for my taste. To get around that, my version starts with a crispy crouton made from stale bread tossed with garlicky olive oil. The tomato juice that is released when the tomatoes are marinated with the other vegetables becomes part of the dressing. Right before I serve it, I toss all of the ingredients with the crispy croutons so that the juices just begin to absorb into the bread.
6 to 8 servings
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cups cubed sourdough bread, preferably slightly stale
1 small Vidalia onion, cut into crescents
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 medium heirloom tomatoes, chopped
2 small cucumbers, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Heat the oven to 300°F. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and the olive oil; stir until the salt dissolves. Place the cubed bread in a mixing bowl, drizzle the bread with the garlic oil mixture, and toss well to evenly distribute the oil. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake until crisped but not dark, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
Place the onion in a medium bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, and pour the sherry vinegar over it. Let rest 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and 2 teaspoons salt. Toss with the bread cubes and basil. Taste for seasoning. Keep in mind that the longer this sits, the soggier the bread will become.
Reprinted with permission from Root to Leaf (Harper Wave; 2015)
Lovely Luscious Salads_inline3

Photo by Heidi Geldhauser

This is a modern version of a three-bean salad. Nutty field peas, creamy butter beans and grassy snap beans are tossed in a tangy vinaigrette punctuated with sweet cherry tomatoes and herbs.
4 to 6 servings
1 cup field peas, blanched
1 cup butter beans, blanched
1 cup snap beans cut into 1-inch pieces, blanched
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons Sherry Vinaigrette (see recipe, below)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint and basil combined
Kosher salt
In a serving bowl, combine the blanched field peas, butter beans and snap beans, and the tomatoes. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, sprinkle with the herbs and toss to lightly coat. Season to taste with salt.
About 1 cup
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons amontillado sherry
4 garlic cloves, halved
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Black pepper, 10 turns from a pepper mill
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine the sherry vinegar, sherry, and garlic and marinate for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove and discard the garlic, then whisk in the salt, mustard, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, and continue to whisk until emulsified. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Reprinted with permission from Root to Leaf (Harper Wave; 2015)
Lovely Luscious Salads_inline4

Photo by Heidi Geldhauser

Roots and dense bulbs are generally considered for cooking only, but if shaved paper thin, they can take on new meaning. Kohlrabi is a great example, particularly in this crunchy and refreshing mélange of celery root, tangerine and pomegranate. For this recipe it is best to use kohlrabi that is young and tender, as it does not need to be peeled and can fit easily on a mandoline. If you have a larger kohlrabi bulb, peel it first and cut it in half or into quarters before slicing.
4 to 6 servings
1 small to medium kohlrabi bulb, thinly sliced and quartered
¼ celery root, peeled, thinly sliced, and quartered
2 to 3 tablespoons Shallot Vinaigrette (see recipe, below)
Kosher salt
2 to 3 tangerines, peeled and sectioned, seeds removed
½ cup pomegranate seeds
In a large bowl, combine the kohlrabi, celery root, and vinaigrette. Toss well to combine and season lightly with salt. Divide among salad plates or bowls. Scatter the tangerines and pomegranate seeds across each salad and serve.
Shallot Vinaigrette
About 1 cup
3 tablespoons finely diced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine the shallots, mustard, salt, pepper and vinegars. Slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk quickly to emulsify. Taste for seasoning. The vinaigrette can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from Root to Leaf (Harper Wave; 2015)

Connect with Fei Fei  @feifei_sun

You may also like