Great for a Spring day!
Was there ever a time that you didn't like
asparagus? When I was a kid it seemed to be one of those vegetables,
like peas, that I could easily do without. Then I tasted asparagus in a
salad -- it was bright green, a little crunchy and, well, kind of
sweet. What a difference! I didn't realize that the asparagus (and the
peas) I had years ago was over-cooked. It was soggy, flavorless and a
most unappealing shade of olive drab.
I think it was in the 80's
when asparagus became mainstream. We all learned how to cook
vegetables properly. Suddenly they were crunchy, brightly colored and the nutrients were still there. Better still, they tasted great! Oh, I just discovered another reason to remember the
80's fondly! Before this my recall of that decade was Madonna, fern
bars, and really big hair!
As usual, I encourage you to change it
up a bit. Make it yours and use whatever dressing you like. I like this
lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil dressing so the recipe is
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
3 cups Salad greens (I used equal parts hearts of romaine and fresh spinach).
1 bunch of very thin asparagus
1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained (1 fresh tangerine works nicely, too)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the salad greens and asparagus. Let drain.
Drain the mandarin oranges.
In a small frying pan, on medium heat, toast the almonds until fragrant and almost golden.
In a sauce pan bring 24 ounces of water to a boil.
While the water is heating up, trim
the tough ends off the asparagus. This is usually the whitest part of
the spear. If you're not sure where to cut, bend the thick end off one
spear and see where it breaks naturally. You can use that as a guide. Cut the
asparagus diagonally into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
Drop into boiling water and set a timer for 2 minutes. As you can see, I used the very thin asparagus. If you have thicker spears, adjust the cooking time. Just boil a few
first and start checking it at the 2 minute mark. Check every 30-45 seconds thereafter (it should be bright green, still have
some crunch). When you're sure of the timing, boil the rest.
a large bowl with very cold water and leave in or near your sink. When
the asparagus is done , drain and immediately plunge into the cold water to
stop the cooking. Once
completely cool, drain and pat dry.
Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a measuring cup (or small bowl) and whisk until emulsified.
Tear the greens into small pieces. In
a large bowl add the greens and asparagus. Drizzle with dressing and
mix thoroughly. Finally, add the mandarin orange
slices and almonds before giving it one last (gentle) toss. Pick out
your prettiest bowl and you're ready to serve.