Mizuna and cucumber salad with red onions, feta, tarragon and Champagne vinaigrette

Mizuna and cucumber salad with feta and tarragon

With its attractive fringed leaves and mild, peppery flavor, mizuna is as delicious as it is exotic! You probably won’t find this Asian green at your supermarket, but your farmers’ market might very well display heaps of it. That’s because this little plant is vigorous and extremely hardy – a perfect crop.

I always have a bed of mizuna growing in my own garden. Every year I marvel at its ability to tolerate summer’s heat waves without bolting or wilting – and winter’s deep freezes, its green leaves poking persistently through a blanket of snow.

In today’s recipe, the spunky mizuna leaves are tossed with a delicate Champagne vinaigrette and adorned with snappy cucumbers, creamy feta, zingy red onions and aromatic fresh tarragon.

This crisp, refreshing and nutritious summer salad makes eating your greens a joy!

Food & wine pairing: Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc with mizuna and cucumber salad

White wine iconA citrusy and herbaceous white works perfectly here. The safe bet is a Sauvignon Blanc from cooler regions like Sancerre or Marlborough (New Zealand). For a more original (and enticing!) pairing try an Assyrtiko, the illustrious white wine from Santorini (Greece). GAIA Wines, one of Santorini’s best wineries, makes particularly stunning Assyrtikos that are worth seeking out.

Baby mizuna leaves

Mizuna and cucumber salad with red onions, feta, tarragon and Champagne vinaigrette

serves 4
active time: 30 min

For the vinaigrette

  1. 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds – finely crushed in a mortar
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  3. 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  5. freshly ground white pepper to taste

For the salad

  1. 1/2 medium red onion
  2. 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  3. 5 oz (140 g) baby mizuna, baby arugula or watercress
  4. 1 medium cucumber (12 oz) (340 g) – peeled, seeded and cut in 1/4” cubes
  5. 4 oz (115 g) feta cheese – crumbled
  6. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

  1. Step 1: To make the vinaigrette – Place the fennel seeds, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
  2. Step 2: Peel the onion then, using a mandoline, cut crosswise in 1/16” slices. Fill a medium bowl with cold water and add the distilled vinegar and onion slices. Stir and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Step 3: To serve – Drain the onion slices on paper towels. Place the greens in a large bowl and toss with half the vinaigrette. Divide the greens onto four plates, shaping them into a mound in the center of each plate. Sprinkle with the cucumber cubes and the crumbled feta. Top with the onion slices. Drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Red onion in vinegar-water bath for de-flaming

Viviane’s tip
  1. Soaking cut onions in a cold-water-and-vinegar bath for a few minutes will get rid of the sulfurous molecules that can cause unpleasant after-effects long after you’ve eaten them. This is called “de-flaming” an onion – a rather appropriate term since it literally gets rid of those annoying onion-flames!

Mizuna and cucumber salad with feta and tarragon

salad, mizuna, cucumber

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  • Reply Jenn and Seth August 8, 2012 at 10:24 am

    such an elegant salad! those flavors must complement each other so well!

    • Reply Viviane August 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you Jen and Seth!

  • Reply Sandra's Easy Cooking July 29, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Sounds very tasty, Viviane! I love salads, and eating them everyday…I will try this as soon as I find some mizuna. Thank you for sharing and have a lovely Sunday!

    • Reply Viviane July 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you Sandra… And the very same to you my dear!

  • Reply mjskit July 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Oh I do love this salad! I’m always looking for another use for my fresh tarragon! Thanks! I’ve never soaked my onions so thanks for that bit of information.

  • Reply Balvinder July 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    We eat onions with our lentils and soaking in cold water and vinegar is normal but didn’t know that it rids of sulfurous molecule. I thought it just rid of the bitterness and unpleasant smell from our breath. The salad no doubt is totally refreshing.

  • Reply Deb July 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I wish we had enough sunshine and space for a proper garden. I will have to settle for my big pots planted with herbs. If only the basil would thrive! I have not tried mizuna but will certainly look for it at our Farmer’s Market. There are usually 3 vendors who carry a wide assortment of greens. I tend to look for the freshest arugula I can find. Thanks for the terrific post! I learned about a new green, mizuna, and a new way to prepare raw onions!

    • Reply Viviane July 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Deb, You’re most welcome! Thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful comment. Your hunt for mizuna should be successful as it’s quickly becoming a fashionable green. Good luck!

  • Reply TastefullyJulie July 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I think I have this growing in my garden! It came in a packet of mixed greens and I had no clue what it was. Thanks!

  • Reply Nancy/SpicieFoodie July 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Viviane,
    I’ve seen this at my local green grocers, they import from all over the world, but never knew what it was called. Thanks, now I know what it is and how to prepare it.

    • Reply Viviane July 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

      Thanks great Nancy… I must say you’re lucky to have such a wonderful green grocer!

  • Reply Cakewhiz July 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Exotic indeed! This beats my boring old salad any day… All the ingredients compliment eachother so well!

    • Reply Viviane July 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you Cakewhiz!

  • Reply Parsley Sage July 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

    You always make the most elegant food! Le sigh. I wish you could come cook for me! Brilliant salad, need to try to find some of that mizuna…especially if it does well in the heat

    • Reply Viviane July 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Parsley sage! It would be great fun and an honor to cook for you my dear… and I bet mizuna would do great in your climate. Would you like me to send you some seeds for you to try?

  • Reply Eftychia July 22, 2012 at 6:47 am

    This is a delicious salad, perfect for summer! I love the feta addition.

  • Reply Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz July 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Never saw mizuna but curious now, what a lovely salad. Got feta i the fridge, will have to sub for arugula.

  • Reply torviewtoronto July 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    this looks wonderful

  • Reply Anita at Hungry Couple July 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Such a beautiful and crisp salad. So perfect for summer.

  • Reply Kiran @ KiranTarun.com July 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    It’s so hot and murky here in Florida and we are thoroughly enjoying summer salad abundance.. This recipe looks so refreshing 🙂

  • Reply Amy @ fragrantvanillacake July 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    This is my kind of summer salad! It sounds so refreshing, and it is so lovely and elegant looking! Classic combination with the cukes and feta, love it :)!

  • Reply Liz July 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    What a light and refreshing combination of ingredients! I’m going to have to look for mizuna.

  • Reply Cucina49 July 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    What a stunner of a salad–I do the same thing with onions, but had no idea it was called that!

  • Reply Choc Chip Uru July 19, 2012 at 7:37 am

    A beautifully presented and delicious salad my friend 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Reply Angie@Angie's Recipes July 19, 2012 at 6:43 am

    This is definitely on my salad list! Simple, fresh and delish.

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