Spring pea & asparagus salad

I feel like spring officially starts when I start cracking my kitchen window open…all day. You know what I’m talking about. That breeze that comes through when you’re standing at the sink all day long.

It first starts off a little chilly, and almost too cold you’re tempted to shut the window.  But by the afternoon the breeze feels likes a welcome change.

And all the sounds and smells that come with that one open window. It’s as if a whole season of sensation comes rushing through that tiny cracked pane of glass. It’s for sure my marker of spring.

And this week, it happened. My kitchen window was cracked ALL DAY. It made me so happy.

So I suppose spring is here.

In honor of this glorious time of year, I’ve been working on some new dishes using some of my favorite spring ingredients; fresh shelled spring peas, and asparagus.

My favorite, and I mean true favorite, recipes are the ones where you don’t have to do anything to the ingredients, but rather simply “leave them be” to shine on their own.  The spring gives us so many ingredients that are at their peak.  We merely have to stand back and let them shine.

This spring pea and asparagus salad does exactly that.  Tender spring veggies, lightly blanched and tossed in an herbaceous dressing filled with mint, basil, and shallots to create a salad that showcases all of the beauty and simplicity spring brings.

This salad combines so many of my favorite spring veggies.  And while I’m not usually a huge fan of “blanched” vegetables, here I love how this simple cooking technique lets the true flavors of the ingredients come through.  The peas remain tender and sweet while the asparagus and snap peas are crisp and earthy.  I added in some radishes and carrots for more color and texture and of course a handful of tender greens to bring it all together.

I couldn’t be happier with how this salad came together.  It’s a beautiful bowl of truly what I think is the best of this season.  I can’t wait to continue to make this recipe all spring long, and I know you will too.

For more spring salad inspiration take a peek at our wild arugula and pansy salad, and our white lentil and blistered spring vegetable salad.

Spring pea and asparagus salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • I bunch of asparagus, with the ends trimmed off and the stalk cut in half
  • 2 cups of sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup of fresh shelled spring peas
  • a handful of greens (I used red butter lettuce, but any greens will work)
  • ½ cup of radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, shaved or grated (I created "ribbons" using a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of stone ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp of wildflower honey
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp of citrus vinegar
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of pepper
  • 1 large handful of basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful of min, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Season the water with a generous helping of salt. Blanch the chopped asparagus for one minute, and then quickly drain the asparagus and place in a large ice bath (a bowl filled with water and ice). Allow asparagus to quickly cool down in the ice bath. Then drain/remove asparagus from the ice bath and place asparagus in a bowl either in the fridge or on your counter, until you're ready to use. Repeat with the sugar snap peas and fresh shelled peas (being careful to not overcook the vegetables. The shelled peas will only need about 30-45 second in the boiling water.) You can blanch the vegetables up to a day in advance (but I generally like to cook them at the same time I'm making the salad).
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a Vitamix (or other high-speed blenders) add the chopped shallot, the juice of one lemon, citrus vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt/pepper. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. Then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Then add in the chopped herbs and blend for an additional 15-30 seconds on low speed (careful not to over blend the herbs). Transfer the dressing into a glass container until ready to use.
  3. To prepare the salad, in a large serving bowl/platter of your choice create a bed for your salad with the butter lettuce. Then arrange the asparagus and sugar snap peas on top. Fill in with the sliced radishes and carrots and then top it all off with the fresh shelled peas. Drizzle with a generous amount of dressing. Serve and enjoy!

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