Salad of Red Lettuce, Cranberry Beans, Lavender Pickled Carrots and Fennel

This is a substantial salad that is good when it is hot. Lavender is fun to use in savory dishes and goes well with fennel. The meaty blandness of the beans and the vinegar of the dressings keep the lavender from being too much. The lavender should come across as a piece of pleasing music heard from the next room, not like someone wearing too much scent sitting down next to you.

1 head of Red Leaf or Red Oak lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized bits
2-3 cups cooked cranberry beans (see Basic Braised Shelling Beans)
1 cup fennel quickles, drained (see Quick Pickled Fennel)
1 cup lavender carrot quickles (see Quick Pickled Carrots Scented with Lavender and Fennel)
1 cup White Balsamic Vinaigrette (see recipe)
1-2 cups micro-greens such as New Natives mixed or arugula sprouts
Salt(use a large flake such as Maldon or Murray River if you can) and pepper to taste

In a bowl just large enough to hold them, mix the beans with half the dressing and allow to marinate up to a day, but at least toss them to coat well with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, mix the lettuce with the sprouts and add just enough dressing to moisten them. Gently toss and distribute amongst 4 serving dishes.

Use a slotted spoon to lift beans from the dressing and distribute equally into the center of the lettuce and sprouts.

Drain the quickles and mix together, then distribute them onto the salads.

Season lightly with salt and pepper and serve right away.

YIELD: Serves 4

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