Mixed Greens with Smoked Trout, Honey Roasted Shallots, Parmigiano-Reggiano Crisps and a Fresh Mint Vinaigrette
This week’s recipe is focused on mint, a widely available and very useful medicinal. There are many types of mint - spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, and so on. Luckily, this recipe works with all of them (there are some small differences in the medicinal properties of each variety, but we don't need to address these for the purposes of this recipe). Mint is also very easy to grow (or find wild). So if you find yourself with an abundance of mint on your hands, this is an excellent way to take advantage of your good fortune.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine and theory, mint is widely used to treat sore throats, headaches, and red, irritated eyes. It is described as being “pungent and cooling,” which means it is most appropriate for acute attacks of “wind and heat,” which loosely corresponds to certain types of upper respiratory track ailments. It also has “aromatic” and “rising” qualities that make it particularly effective for treating problems of the head and throat. Anyone suffering from a sore throat that has had a strong cup of mint tea knows just how soothing it can be.
Mint has some surprising uses too. It’s dispersing properties make it effective in soothing liver Qi, important for the regulation of the menstrual cycle and relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (mint is an ingredient in the classic formula Xiao Yao San, which Dao has augmented and adjusted in our Emotional Balance formula). Because of its aromatic qualities, mint can also break up dampness and relieve abdominal discomfort.
A Chinese Medicine Inspired Vinaigrette
In the vinaigrette, we have balanced the cooling properties of the mint with the warming properties of jalapeño, cayenne, paprika, and shallots. The pungent qualities of these items make this salad even more useful for dispelling common colds. The trout and parmesan crisps make this salad a meal. Its bright flavors may be just what you need to lift your mood, improve your digestion, and clear your head.
Prep Time / Cook Time
15 minutes / 30 minutes
3 handfuls of spring salad mix
7.5 ounces of smoked trout
3 ½ large shallots
3 tablespoons honey
3 ounces parmigiano-reggiano
3 handfuls of fresh mint
½ large jalapeno
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup canola oil
Fresh cracked black pepper
Wash the spring mix and set aside. Next, remove the bones from smoked trout and then set aside as well. Clean three of the shallots, then “quarter” them lengthwise. Toss the shallots with the honey and roast until tender and slightly golden (20-30 minutes, depending on size).
Grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano and using parchment paper, spread evenly into about nine each - 2 ½ inch diameter portions. Bake these at 350 degrees until lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
To make the mint vinaigrette, add the following to a blender: mint, half shallot, half of a jalapeno with seeds or more depending on size and how spicy you like it, paprika, cayenne, rice wine vinegar, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. As you start blending, it might take a bit for the ingredients to begin pureeing. Feel free to add a couple splashes of water and a bit of the oil to help get it started. Once it is pureeing nicely, slowly add the remainder of the oil to bring the vinaigrette together. Adjust seasoning.
Have fun constructing your salad. Your throat (and taste buds) will thank you!
The recipes on The Way are intended as an East meets West look at food and its relationship to health and nutrition. Food is powerful, and every bite can either greatly benefit your system or effectively work against it. In Chinese Medicine, each grain, vegetable, meat, fruit, and spice has unique properties that can be harnessed to help us achieve and maintain balance in our bodies. Our recipes seek to incorporate some of the age-old principles of Chinese medicine into the culinary practices more familiar to the West.