Warmer weather is finally approaching and with it comes delightful spring vegetables. One of my favorites is asparagus: it’s stylish, bright and addictive.
There are so many simple ways to cook asparagus, and today’s recipe won’t heat up your kitchen or take much of your time. It is also perfect for a picnic or potluck as it travels well.
I took this delectable “Raw Asparagus Salad with Shallots, Pine Nuts & Cheese” to my monthly LA Food Blogger’s Meet-Up. This month’s theme was salads, and what a fabulous array of spring inspired dishes we had. Here are just a few.
Judy Lyness of Two Broads Abroad created this gorgeous Thai Beef Salad
Historically, asparagus has been known for its healing and cleansing properties and its balance of vitamins, including K, B-folate, C, A and folic acid. Asparagus is 93% water, it is low in calories and sodium, and contains no cholesterol or fat. It’s also a good source of protein – yes, protein. This vivacious veggie has roughly four grams of protein per one-cup serving.
This salad is as simple as chopping and mixing – if you use thin asparagus, there is no peeling required (use the tough asparagus ends for soups or stocks).
- 1 bunch pencil-thin asparagus, tough stems removed
- 4 small shallots, diced (about 5 tablespoons)
- 2-3 ounces crumbled ricotta salata (feta or goat cheese are great options)
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons walnut oil (you can use olive oil)
- 1 teaspoon mild honey
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- Cut the asparagus into very thin, crosswise slices, and place in a medium bowl. Add the shallots and cheese and toss to combine.
- In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Add to the asparagus mixture and toss gently. Adjust the seasoning.
- Serve, topped with toasted pine nuts.
* Asparagus historically was heralded as an aphrodisiac, probably because of its shape.
* While approximately 300 varieties of asparagus have been noted, only 20 are edible.
* According to the California Asparagus Commission, asparagus gained popularity in France and England in the 16th Century. King Louis XIV of France so enjoyed this delicacy that he ordered special greenhouses built for a year-round supply. Hence the reference to asparagus as “Food of the Kings.”
Quote of the Day
“Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts” – Charles Lamb
I say, asparagus inspires endless possibilities for scrumptious salads.
…and then, she paused for thought.