Edible dirt salad on plate pic

Yeah, it’s time to talk dirt. I know what you’re thinking–why would I want to eat dirt? It’s not just regular dirt–or the dirt you make with ground up OREO cookie crumbs. This dirt adds undertones of umami to the freshest of salads.

 

On a recent trip to Kansas City I had dinner with friends at Affare, a Modern German restaurant that offers amazing seasonal salads as part of the menu. Here are a couple descriptions to give you an idea of what they serve:

Red beet salad and buttermilk two ways, artisan leaves, flower petals, goat cheese, spiced pecan nuts

Lamb’s Lettuce, truffled potato confit, smoked elk-brat on cranberry-mustard aioli, crispy sauerkraut

Edible dirt at Affare pic

Creative, cool. Of course I had to try some of Affare’s ideas at home. So the night I was there a salad with edible dirt was on the list. I grilled the server on how to prepare the dirt–yeah, she probably doesn’t get that question very often, “So what’s in the dirt?” While I wouldn’t put edible dirt on the salad plate every day it was a fun, easy addition on a night where we wanted to make things a little fancy.

 

Making edible dirt is easy (surprised? I mean, it’s dirt)

Here’s what to do:

In a food processor pulse together:

1/4 cup dried mushrooms (any variety, I used porcini)

2-3 oz. dark chocolate (baking chocolate you don’t want it sweet)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. paprika (smoked preferred)

Process until the mixture resembles dirt–this will be loud! Adjust the seasoning–the flavor should have an earthy zing. Tip: If you want the dirt darker add a bit of dark cocoa (I used black onyx powder).

Edible dirt salad pic

Putting the salad together:

  1. Place a row of artisan lettuce in the middle of the plate
  2. Top with grated carrots or radish (I used watermelon radish)
  3. Sprinkle with a strong cheese like feta, bleu, or gorgonzola
  4. Squeeze fresh lemon over the salad, drizzle with olive oil
  5. Add a teaspoon or two of edible dirt on the edges of the plate

Edible dirt pic

 

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