It’s funny how you really start to crave salads when the weather finally decides to warm up.
Funny, but probably no coincidence, seeing that warm weather also happens to supply all the ingredients for those salads.
Eating seasonally will really sync up your system like that.
While Spring has officially broken, we haven’t completely shaken the chill of winter. I can’t help but to feel sympathetic for all of the aspiring floral life that show their bright faces on the first sunny Spring day. Nature can be cruel, and when the temperature takes a dip again (as it inevitably will) those pretty flowers won’t make it through the night quite as cheerfully.
So while we wait for the more cautious vegetation to make it’s first appearance of the season (strawberries, I’m waiting on you!) I will continue to eat asparagus in every way imaginable.
I’m currently attempting to turn my husband into an actual asparagus by force feeding it to him. Will keep you posted on the progress.
There are loads of different ways to prepare asparagus, but somehow I always stick to the roasting method. Maybe because of the way the ends get good and crunchy when you leave them to sizzle for long enough.
But with the warm weather and the craving of fresh, bright foods I’ve been experiencing lately, I decided to forgo cooking my most recent bundle of green stalks altogether.
Shaving asparagus super thin completely changes its personality. It goes from hearty to light and delicate in a matter of minutes. Instead of breaking off the woody end as you normally would, just use it as your grip and run a vegetable peeler down the length of the stalk. You get these pretty cross section strips that are just as tasty as they are elegant.
I normally like my salads to have both raw and cooked components, but this one was all about the fresh flavors. You just use the same shaving method on a few carrots and then slice some radishes up super thin to keep with the theme. I added some watercress to mine because I couldn’t get my hands on any pea shoots, but you can use whatever microgreen you prefer.
The ricotta what ties all of those crunchy, fresh bites together. If you thought ricotta was only for lasagna, I’m telling you that you’re wrong.
Ricotta is sort of like Italian cottage cheese, and traditionally it is made from sheep’s milk. The ricotta you will find in tubs in most grocery stores usually is made of cow’s milk and is softer than traditional ricotta. That’s what I used here, just made sure that it was organic and from cows not treated with rGBH.
If you are like me, and you hate hearing someone use an acronym when you are unsure of what that jumble of letters really stands for, then you’re in luck because I’m going to tell you. rGBH stands for recombinant bovine growth hormone and it is a synthetic hormone marketed to dairy farmers to increase milk production in cows. It is regularly used in the United States, but its use is not permitted in Europe, Canada, and various other countries.
Anytime I can avoid things that may potentially increase my risk of cancer and/or other health issues, I’ll choose to opt out. Even if that means a few extra minutes searching the label and a slightly higher price tag. I want to enjoy as many beautiful Spring days as I can, don’t you agree?
And beautiful Spring days are perfect for making this salad. And as a serving recommendation, I suggest that you enjoy it outdoors, with a generous helping of sunshine.
Just tastes better that way.
- 8-10 asparagus spears
- 3 carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
- 4 radishes
- pea sprouts, watercress, or other microgreen
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- Juice from 3 Meyer lemon
- 2.5 tbs butter
- 1-2 shallots
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tsp honey
- salt and pepper
- Add lemon juice to a small dish.
- Finely mince shallots, and add to lemon juice. Allowing it to sit for a bit in the juice will mellow the flavor.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk butter as it browns, being careful not to let it overcook. Remove heat from pan and add lemon juice/shallots along with olive oil, honey, and pepper. Whisk to combine and salt to taste. Reserve
- Holding asparagus from the root end, shave slices using a vegetable peeler, moving away from where you are holding.
- Repeat process for carrot.
- Thinly slice radishes.
- Combine carrot shavings, asparagus shavings, thinly sliced radish, and microgreen of your choice onto a serving dish.
- Top salad with ricotta cheese and lemon zest. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.
For this salad, thicker asparagus spears work best When preparing asparagus, normally you would break off the end and discard. Use this end as your grip to hold while you are making shavings and discard afterwards.
Cheers to a happy, healthy Spring!
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.