winter and spring salad

by Heguiberto on March 12, 2010

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Asparagus tastes best in early spring. Have you ever seen them growing in a field? I have. The spears shoot off the ground in search of sunlight and you have to go harvest them right away while they’re at their tender-most best. That’s what I think the guys at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market did the previous week because I saw a couple of vegetable stands only offering beautiful asparagus. They made a gorgeous and very appealing display. Those farmers sure know how to market effectively! Unluckily, we forgot to charge the camera battery so didn’t get a pic. I did get two bunches of asparagus just the same.

winter and spring salad

I’ve improvised this recipe from one that my work colleague, Tri Nguyen suggested. His calls for tomatoes, but it’s still too early for any good ones right now. Instead, I swapped organic yellow beets for tomato and made the salad more “right now” with the seasons. This salad is in homage to the end of Winter and beginning of Spring: asparagus represents Springtime and beets, Winter. The colors reminded me of the Brazilian flag, which I liked. The salad itself tastes wonderful: crunchy and velvety with a citrus tingle and a tiny kick form the Dijon mustard. Mmmmm!

Usually I make salad dressings in a classic style with extra virgin olive oil, lime or/and lemon and red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and occasionally a bit of fresh garlic. My friend, John P, has persuaded me to branch out from time to time with other oils and ingredients. I’ve used almond oil fairly successfully in salads and in my cashew Brazil nut butter. Almond oil has a very mild, neutral flavor that allows the other salad ingredients to really shine. You should try it.

Whenever I make beets, I can’t help but think of the GoGo’s classic hit.

Winter and Spring Salad: Roasted Yellow Beet and Asparagus Tips with Walnut Oil Orange Dressing

salad ingredients:

2 bunches asparagus
2 bunches medium sized yellow beets washed and scrubbed (6 beets)
½ bunch chopped parsley


Juice of ½ Texas or other sweet orange
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp white wine vinegar
3 to 4 tbsp almond oil
2 tbsp water
½ tsp coarse ground Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot cut into thin slices and rinsed in cold water
1 crushed clove of garlic

Clean beets well and remove stems and leafy parts. Crowd beets in a small baking pan. Add a thin layer of water to the pan. Cover with foil and roast at high temperature (400 F) for about one hour or longer until tender. Remove foil about half way through cooking. This will ensure your beets roast, preserve their flavor and don’t become shriveled like prunes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Peel beets and cut them into chunks. Transfer to a bowl.

be sure to clean your beets well

Steam or boil asparagus for few minutes until soft but still crunchy. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool and retain its color. Cut tips of spears and add to beets. Reserve edible stems for another day.

Place water, orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and shallot in a jar. Cover and shake it. Let it stand at room temperature for about 8 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and shake again. Let rest for another 5 minutes. Adjust flavors to taste.

Add parsley to beets and asparagus then toss with dressing. Serve.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tri Nguyen March 12, 2010 at 10:17 am

Looks Yum !! I’ll have to try this version. Thanks.

Heguiberto March 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

I bet you will enjoy it 🙂

tasteofbeirut March 13, 2010 at 7:19 am

I was laughing watching this clip! Where on earth did you find it? Remember that song!
Your salad looks so good I want it right now even though it is still breakfast time here!
Thanks for your input on the Persian Limes; I added the name to be more accurate. Gracias.

Heguiberto March 16, 2010 at 11:30 am

I love that song. A quick search on youtube revealed that jewel.

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