Asparagus Springs Eternal
It takes years to establish an asparagus crop, and harvest is extremely labor-intensive. Washington farmers apparently aren’t commitment-phobic: they grow more than 40% of the total U.S. asparagus crop.
Served at Washington Hills Cellars’ Asparagus Dinner in 1999 (part of the valley’s annual Asparagus Festival), this late-spring salad features the honey-lemon-lime-herb dressing that is a signature staple of Erika Cenci at A Touch of Europe B&B in Yakima.
Summary: Courtesy of Erika Cenci and A Touch of Europe B&B of Yakima
- FOR THE SALAD
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh slender asparagus spears, trimmed
- 10 ounces young, tender spinach leaves, washed and trimmed
- 4 yellow tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 4 red tomatoes, cut into wedges
- FOR THE DRESSING
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (safflower is best)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped arugula
- Freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.
- Add asparagus and cook until tender, about 4–5 minutes. Drain then plunge asparagus in cold water to stop cooking.
- Drain and pat dry.
- Arrange spinach leaves on four salad plates.
- Place asparagus on top of spinach.
- Garnish each plate with yellow and red tomato wedges.
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- In a small bowl, combine oil, lemon and lime juice, honey, and herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon dressing over salad.
- Serve with toasted French bread slices.
- Try it with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Number of servings (yield): 4
From the March/April 2007 Anniversary edition of Northwest Palate.
Photos: Washington Asparagus Commission; Erika Cenci by Jim Cenci