Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not THAT Kind of Blood Orange

My brand-new salad craving is heightening my fear that turning 40 will make me a Responsible Adult. Or, at the very least, cement my Old Enough To Know Better status. I'm filing for an extension since I'm clearly not ready.

Or perhaps it's just a continuation of the "sashaying to the beat of my own accordion" that I've pretty much always done. At least my newfound obsession, the dark chocolate covered pretzels at Trader Joe's - is keeping a sense of normalcy.

Over the weekend I threw some fish on the grill and made this tasty salad. Two things to work around - a) oranges and asparagus are generally not in season at the same time - sliced apples would work much better than the dry, styrofoam-y oranges I was able to get, and b) how the hell do you "shave" asparagus? They're skinny spears. You have to hold onto them somewhere. They're floppy. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to pull that off without also pulling off a layer of skin.

Our chopped asparagus salad turned out just fine. The dressing is terrific. Thyme, which grows in my herb garden, substitutes just fine for tarragon, which I didn't plant.

Shaved/Chopped Asparagus Salad with Orange-Tarragon Vinaigrette
Vegetarian Times

1/3 cup raw hazelnuts or almonds
1 large shallot, peeled and minced (3 TBSP)
3 TBSP white wine vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
1 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon leaves (or thyme)
2 tsp. orange zest - about 1 orange
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
7 TBSP olive oil (I used 5)
1/2 pound fresh asparagus (8 to 10 medium-size spears)
6 cups mixed spring greens
2 navel oranges

[If using hazelnuts - preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast 15 minutes, or until skins darken and split. Rub nuts between two towels until skins come off. Cool, then coarsely chop]

1. Whisk together shallot, vinegar, tarragon/thyme, orange zest, and mustard in bowl. Whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. I didn't whisk, I just combined everything in a cruet and shook it.

2. Peel asparagus into long, thin strands with a peeler. Then e-mail me a video about how you did it.

3. Toss with greens in bowl.

4. Peel oranges with knife, removing white pith. Slice between membranes, and cut orange segments directly into salad, letting juice drip into bowl. Toss salad with nuts and 3 TBSP dressing. Serve remaining dressing on the side.

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