Friday, May 16, 2014

Spring Salad

Not that I haven't used the phrase before, but I absolutely love this salad.

This one in particular is chock-full of many of the flavors of spring: fresh new green veggies- particularly peas and asparagus, verdant parsley, a little sharpness from alliums, plus bright lemon.
It's the taste of spring on a plate.

Once we start to find lots of green and new vegetables at the market, it's a reminder that warm weather is on it's way.
Fresh cut grass, daffodils, violets, and peonies, new leaves, flowering trees, lighter clothing, allergies, planting the garden...

Everything is fresh.
(And speaking of spring, salads look like little green nests sometimes, don't you think?)

I like a vinaigrette with tons of vibrant flavor. The only real way for me to be sure of this is to measure and pay attention instead of eyeballing things. If I've got too much asparagus, the vinaigrette is stretched a bit too far. If not enough lemon, there's not enough zip.

Plus, you'll want to make sure the vegetables are well drained and dry(ish) before adding the vinaigrette. Water does not tend to help vinaigrettes.

Sorry, I wasn't able to obtain pea tendrils for photographing this post, but if you are able to find them and choose to finish your salads with the curly, delicate things, you won't be disappointed.

The salad components can be prepared in advance, but keep everything separate until ready to serve. Resist dressing the vegetables until right before assembling the salads and serving.

Spring Salad
(serves about 6)

zest of one lemon (plus more to taste, if desired)
2 1/2 T (37 ml) Lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with salt
1 1/2-2 T (15-20 g) minced shallot (depending on how strong you like it)
1 t (5 ml) Dijon mustard
7 T (105 ml) olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

1 lb (454 g) asparagus 
8 oz (227 g) sugar snap peas
mixed greens or baby spinach (about 5 oz or 142 g, but you may not use all of it)
2/3 c (60 g) chopped green onions (or maybe ramps)
1/3 c (20 g) parsley, minced
Parmesan shavings (use a vegetable peeler)
pea tendrils (optional garnish, but both pretty and tasty)

Mix lemon juice and zest,  garlic, shallot, and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, all the while whisking. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 

Bring a pot of water to the boil.
Meanwhile, trim the asparagus and cut into 1 inch lengths. Reserve the tops separately from the pieces of stalk. Remove the strings from the sugar snap peas and cut in half on the bias. 
When the water comes to a boil, salt generously. Make sure to have a large bowl of ice water at the ready.  
Cook the asparagus stems about 2 minutes, remove from the hot water, and plunge them into the ice water. Next, cook the sugar snap peas about 1 minute, and add them to the cold water along with the asparagus. 
Remove the vegetables to a colander to drain once completely chilled. 
Cook the asparagus tips 1 minute and remove to the bowl of cold water. Once these have chilled,  drain and remove them to small bowl separate from the other vegetables. 

Prepare plates with a layer of greens. 
Re-whisk the previously prepared vinaigrette and gently toss the vinaigrette together with the well-drained asparagus stalks and sugar snap peas, green onion and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper as necessary and spoon dressed vegetables into the center of each nest of greens. Divide the asparagus tips among the salads to garnish and top with Parmesan shavings and pea tendrils (if using).

1 comment:

  1. This post makes me want to take off my shoes and run barefoot in the grass.