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Make It Seasonal Recipe: Asparagus, Radish & Fennel Salad

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Asparagus, fennel and radish salad

 

I am so inspired by this seasonal recipe series! Thanks to everyone who voted last month to help me pick ingredients for a new dish. The winning produce was (drumroll, please) fennel, asparagus and radishes.

I immediately thought of a salad, which felt a little like a cop out. I could hear Tom Colicchio in my mind “But, you didn’t really cook anything, did you?” I decided to ignore my inner Tom and follow my instincts. I love a salad with crisp spring vegetables, and this recipe promised big flavor and crunch.

The dish is simple to make, but there is a little bit of knife work. I don’t care for big chunks of fennel so I used a mandoline to slice the fennel into thin disks, then cut those with a knife into strips. I sliced the radishes thinly and cut my already thin asparagus on a diagonal. If you have thicker asparagus, you can shave it with a vegetable peeler.

I used my vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan into long thin strips. The trick is to use a light touch so that you get strips thin enough to see through. If that seems like too much work, you can grate it instead.

The result is a tangy, crunchy, peppery salad that was the perfect bite of spring. Enjoy!

And, don’t forget to vote for April’s ingredients: April Recipe Mashup Ballot.

Asparagus, Fennel and Radish Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes

Serves 6

1 bulb of fennel with fronds (the leafy green part)

juice of 4 lemons, approximately one-half cup

1 bunch of thin asparagus

1 bunch of radishes

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 tsp salt sea salt

1 wedge of Parmesan

Separate the fennel bulb from the fronds and, if needed, clean up the bulb. Set the fronds aside.

Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, shave the fennel into thin disks. Using a knife, cut the fennel into long strips.

Place the fennel and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice into a shallow bowl or dish to allow the fennel to soak up the juice.

While the fennel is soaking, slice the radishes and asparagus. If your asparagus is thick, you can shave it into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler.

In a small bowl, combine the other 1/4 cup lemon juice, salt and the olive oil. With a whisk or fork, whip the dressing until the juice and oil thicken. Taste and add salt, if desired. I did not add pepper because my radishes were very peppery, but feel free to add it if you have more mild radishes.

Combine the fennel, radishes and asparagus in a bowl, slowly add dressing to lightly coat the vegetables. Lightly shave 8-10 ribbons of parmesan into the dish. Pinch fennel leaves from the fronds and sprinkle over the top of the salad.

Serve and enjoy!

P.S. Don’t trash the fronds. You can save the fennel stalks to use in fish stock or to make fennel pesto. Here’s a great post from The Kitchn on 5 ways to use fennel stalks and fronds.

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Recipe Roundup: The Mysterious Artichoke

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The artichoke. We all know this beauty and most of us love them too, but their mystic can be somewhat… intimidating. But don’t let the perceived “hassle” scare you away, and I promise you are not the only one who might be shy around an artichoke.

First, get oriented with this great article on 9 Ways to Make the Most of an Artichoke. When you are feeling more adventurous check out these 10 recipes that use the artichoke in a variety of ways, from salsa to on the grill.

Simple Grilled Artichokes – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Pan-Roasted Artichoke with Lemon and Garlic – Cooking Light

Raw Artichoke, Celery, and Parmesan Salad – Bon Appetit

Artichoke Halves Stuffed with Beef – Leite’s Culinaria

Artichoke Salsa – Cooking during Stolen Moments

Grilled Artichoke with Yogurt-Dill Dipping Sauce – Bon Appetit

Minted Tomato Artichoke Salad – Fork and Flower

Braised Artichokes – Simply Recipes

Creamy Artichoke and Asparagus Lasagna  – Cooking Light

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms – Hummusapien

Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup – C’est La Vegan

Continue to unravel the mystery with our Artichoke Pinterest board.

 

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Caprese Salad

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I love fresh tomatoes. I have tried many different recipes for Caprese salad – a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad – and have adapted to this one. Only serve this when tomatoes are fresh and in season. It is not going to taste the same in the winter. And don’t skimp on the mozzarella; get the good stuff.

Serves 4

2 to 3 fresh tomatoes, depending on their size. I like to get a couple of different kinds of tomatoes if they are available because they have different acidity and sweetness.

6 oz of fresh mozzarella

8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, you can use any type of basil, but I enjoy the lemon basil if it is available

1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste, I use ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper

extra virgin olive oil

Slice the tomatoes to the desired thickness, usually about ¼ inch. You need a good sharp knife to do this without mutilating the tomatoes.   Slice the mozzarella to desired thickness, again about ¼ inch.

There are a number of ways you can plate this. One is to place a slice of tomato on a plate, then slightly overlap it with a slice of cheese, and then a piece of torn basil. Repeat until the plate has a single cascading layer of tomato, cheese and basil. You can also chiffonade the basil rather than tear it and sprinkle the cut basil leaves between layers. If you would like to dress up the presentation, you can make Caprese stacks. Start with a tomato on bottom, then stack cheese, basil, tomato, cheese, basil and tomato.

Whatever presentation you select, finish the dish by squeezing fresh lemon over it, drizzling a bit of olive oil (don’t drown it!) and adding salt and pepper to taste. Let the dish stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

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Neighborhood Potluck Green Bean Salad

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Sunday night is family dinner night at my sister’s house. She has great neighbors and about once a month the dinner turns into a neighborhood potluck. Luckily, this time I had some forewarning so I grabbed the veggies in the drawer and headed to Buda.

Their neighbor Todd had recently gone fishing on on the coast and came home with quite a haul, so we had two different types of blackened fish. We were also having a pasta salad so I wanted to make something flavorful and fresh, but not heavy. I decided on a green bean salad – light, flavorful and colorful. The best part was it only took about 10 minutes to make so I didn’t miss much quality time with the family and neighbors.
Green Bean Salad
2 slices of bacon, diced (you can leave this out if your vegan)
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut to a bite size
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
1/2 pound teardrop or cherry tomatoes (I like yellow teardrop because of the color, but red are great too)
4 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsps dijon mustard
juice from one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the bacon in a skillet and place on a paper towel to drain off the excess grease.
Boil water and blanch the green beans – cook about 2 minutes depending on your preference; I like mine crispy – and then drain them in a colander and pour cold water over them to stop the cooking.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard together. Taste the dressing and adjust as necessary with additional mustard, salt or pepper.
In a serving bowl, combine the bacon, onion, tomatoes, green beans and dressing.
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