Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Joseph Salad

The Catholic Cuisine Category for St. Joseph already has a few ideas for foods for his feast days. I thought I would add one more very simple one.

Twelve Months of Monastery Salads: 200 Divine Recipes for All Seasons by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette is another cookbook that I use for inspiration as a break from the "same-old" salads. He makes simplicity elegant with his French touch in the kitchen. This salad is simple and delicious.

Brother Victor explains why this salad is named after St. Joseph. This passage continually inspires me in my own cooking throughout the Liturgical Year:
The monastic calendar, like the secular one, is repeated year after year. It waits for no one and always arrives on time. It is based on the seasons of the liturgy and provides us daily occasion to remember God's friends and our intercessors, the saints. No one should be surpised, then, that so many recipes bear a saint's name. This is completely natural to me, for each day I think of and pray to the saint whose memory is kept on that date. I keep continual company with the Mother of God and the saints, and I am inspired by their words and examples.

Someone once asked me if there was a special mystical meaning in my recipes that bear the names of saints. Ther person thought the recipe was the creation of the saint for whom it was inscribed. She was later mystified, and almost disappointed, by my simple response. I told her that there were many ways of honoring the saints and keeping their memories alive. One of my ways was to name recipes after them, so that others might think of and remember their legacies.
St. Joseph Salad
(makes 6 servings)

1/2 pound baby spinach
1 small head radicchio, shredded
18 cherry tomatoes
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges
2 shallots, finely chopped

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

1. To assemble the salads, in a large salad bowl, toss together the spinach and radicchio until well combined and divide equally among 6 salad plates. Arrange the cherry tomatoes and egg wedges attractively on top. Sprinkle the shallots over everythere.

2. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a measuring cup or small bowl until thickened and pour evenly over each of the salads. Serve immediately. Pin It


  1. I like the monk's explanation! Its a great way to establish a family tradition of honouring saints .

  2. +JMJ+

    I confess I'm also a bit disappointed in Brother Victor-Antoine's explanation. I understand naming recipes after saints in order to honour them, but I would have liked to know the reason this salad was named after St. Joseph--and not, say, one with macaroni and tuna. (Just an example!) Is there something especially Josephite about spinach, radicchio, etc?

  3. Hmm, I think what he's saying is he serves this salad on St. Joseph's Day, therefore it's St. Joseph's Salad. Since it's a simple and humble type of salad, it does seem to reflect St. Joseph a bit, don't you think?

    There are all sorts of categories of Liturgical Cooking. There are foods that have significance to a saint because the cuisine is from where he was born or lived or buried; a favorite food of a saint while he was living; a food derived from something that occurred in a saint's life; or just food named for the saint or someone named Joseph (aka Sloppy Joes).

    I know Suzanne Fowler in one of her cookbooks just names different foods for the saints, because they are served on their feast days. And foods like "St. Joseph Fritters" or "St. Joseph Cream Puffs" have no significance except that they are served on his day -- a traditional Italian festival food.

    Finally, there are food like the aforementioned "Sloppy Joes" or "Eggs Benedict" that we can have fun serving on the saint's day because of the name, but again, no significance except that we are honoring the saint.

  4. +JMJ+

    Thanks, Jenn! =) It's a thoughtful answer and I've linked to it on my own 'blog:

  5. Pax vobis!

    I tried to make a salad inspired by this today on the eve of St. Joseph the Worker.