How often do you say salads . . . yawn . . . and the first thing you picture is lettuce and croutons with Thousand Island dressing? That changed fast when I stumbled across One Lucky Duck, a great organic takeout restaurant in New York City. What sets them apart is their uniqueness and creativity with salads—and I’m not just talking extra olives either.
Their menu features classics like the Spicy Sesame Salad, a base of shredded cabbage, beets, jicama, and daikon, topped with cashew sesame crunch, spicy wasabi aioli, and fresh cilantro.
They’ve also got a great spicy Taco Salad. Think mounds of crisp romaine, taco crumble, cooling pico de gallo, smooth guacamole, topped with a light cashew-sour cream and zesty cilantro-lime dressing.
My favorite is their Mediterranean Salad, a killer combo of arugula and kale, kalamata olives, sweet cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette, and pine nut parmesan. (The pine nut parmesan has a bit of a sweet, cheesy taste that balances out the bold flavors of the kale and olives quite nicely.)
I happened on One Lucky Duck while driving down a smallish, tree-lined, one-way street off Irving Place in Gramercy Square Park.
There’s no awning, in fact no sign, just a plate glass window with “One Lucky Duck” arched across the front.
It’s a bit like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, in the way that they don’t advertise, except by word of mouth. With food like that, there’s really no need.
Inside its small, take-out only, with three small tables on one side and a few shelves propped-up against the deep red walls where they sell their home-made goods.
The staff is very polite, and always willing to describe the difference between their raw, organic coconut ice cream and the Malomar Bar, (a nice treat, since walking up to the counter in NYC restaurants is usually followed by, “Whaddya want?”)
Drop in and rub shoulders (reallly, its small) with Owen Wilson and Gisele Bundchen who are regulars. And if you’re not going to NYC anytime soon, you can still take inspritation from One Lucky Duck. Try making their Mediterranean Salad, and check out their web site for more recipes and cool ingredients.
Makes 4 servings
* 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes
* 1 cup kalamata olives
* 1 cup pine nut parmesan
* about 4 large handfuls of kale, torn in small bits
* about 4 large handfuls of arugula
* balsamic vinaigrette to taste
Pine Nut Parmesan
This is a bit of the secret ingredient, ads a nutty-cheesy flavor to vegetables. Make a batch and keep it on stand-by. It’s a great source of protein and is also a natural source of vitamin B12.
Makes 3 cups
* 2 cups pine nuts (soaked in water 1 hr or more)
* 1/2 cup spring water
* 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast *
* 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Dump the soaked water and rinse nuts well. Add all the ingredients to a food processor. Blend well until creamy. With an off-set spatula, spread paste evenly on parchment paper until thin, about the thickness of construction paper. Put in the oven or toaster-oven on the lowest temperature possible with the door slightly ajar for 6-8 hours overnight, or until crispy. Break in small pieces and store in the fridge. It should keep for two weeks or so.
* Nutritional yeast can be found at Whole Foods, online at One Lucky Duck, or any a healthy foods store.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
* 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 2 tablespoon honey dijon mustard
* 2 garlic clove, minced
* 1 cup olive oil
* season to taste with sea salt and pepper
Whisk the balsamic vinegar, mustard and garlic together in a small. Slowly add in olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
(btw) Why We Simply Love Kale
One of the key ingredients in the Mediterranean Salad is kale, is one of the best dark-leafy greens you can eat. High in minerals, nutrients and antioxidants, its also part of the cruciferous vegetable family.
The research team at the University of Illinois has proven that sulforaphane, an organosulfur compound found in kale, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, has anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-microbial properties.
Cruciferous vegetables are so rich in organosulfur, you don’t need to eat bowls of it everyday to get the results. Sulforaphane is so potent that even minimal amounts are shown to help prevent the disease.
One Lucky Duck
125 East 17th Street
New York, NY 10003
Open daily 9am-11pm