Spring Salad of Asparagus, Garden Peas and Pickled Red Onions

Spring Salad- A Stack of Dishes

 

The peas are poppin’, the asparagus is snappin’ and the pickled onion gives this spring salad a sparkling little kick! This spritely salad is the epitome of spring to me.

This year for our Easter dinner I made a larger version of this salad, and it was such a hit that I had to remake for me, I mean you. I was never much of a pea eater as a kid. My experience of peas was salty, mushy, petite pois, straight out of the can, thanks to Le Sueur.

That elegant silver labeled can would get me wondering about Le Sueur. I always assumed him a grisly Frenchman who, with a huff and a wave of his hand, insisted on packing his precious peas into a precious looking can so that ignorant American children, such as I, could be enlightened. My mother certainly though them schmancy (and still does I believe…).

Come to find out that, Le Sueur bears no beret, expels not a huff, nor even an attitude- Le Sueur is actually a town in good ol’ Minnesota- right ‘chere in the U S of A. Apparently peas are aplenty and produce with aplomb in MinnesOHta! Who knew?

Somewhere in my youth and childhood I was given the opportunity to eat a fresh pea straight out of the pod- and my friends, that was a moment.  Round bellied pods with sweet nuggets inside. Jewels! Fresh peas are just so sweet! Why- I mean WHY?!?! did someone ever think that cooking them into gray mushy beads was the way to go? No wonder it has become the supreme  “face making” vegetable for kids.

There are no such horrors in my salad. I put just a slight blanch on mine. Just enough to draw out the full potential of the sweetness, while still keeping the pop and crunch. They also turn a brilliant green, which is a beautiful thing all on its own.

Same with the asparagus- mostly cooked- I wouldn’t say al dente necessarily, but steamed or boiled just 2-3 minutes to bring out the flavor, yet still keeping a bite to them.

For the dressing I used some of my Homemade Mint Vinegar which was so perfect I cannot begin to tell you. First I pickled the onions in some, then took the residual juice of the onions and vinegar, and made a dressing out of it. So frightfully simple, fresh and and divine with a hint of mint.

Sorry Le Sueur, I think you got it all wrong- I think this American child has got something better than any fancy can could compete with.

 

asparagus and garden pea salad, spring greens, spring vegetables, a stack of dishes

 

Asaragus and Pea Spring Salad with Pickled Onions
Cold or room temperature this salad is a hit. The onions take some time to do their thing, so start them first and dress the salad last. Serves 6
Print
148 calories
16 g
0 g
7 g
6 g
1 g
194 g
42 g
7 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
194g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 148
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 42mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 16g
5%
Dietary Fiber 6g
24%
Sugars 7g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
23%
Vitamin C
61%
Calcium
4%
Iron
16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large red onion
  2. .25 cup Mint Vinegar (recipe under condiments), or red wine vinegar
  3. 1 pound Fresh garden peas
  4. 1 pound Fresh asparagus, washed and tough ends removed
  5. 1 bunch of pea shoots, or some other tender lettuce (watercress, etc)
  6. 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  7. 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  8. Salt & Pepper to taste
Pickling the onions
  1. First peel the onions and slice on a mandolin (or very finely by hand). Place slices into a bowl and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over, and toss while slightly massaging the salt into the onions with your fingers.
  2. Let rest for 10-15 minute, then pour vinegar over and set aside for 30 minutes, giving them a stir from time to time. Over time they will soften and develop a beautiful bright pink color.
The Greens
  1. In a good sized pot, fill with about 2 inches of water and a hefty three fingered pinch of salt- bring to the boil- and ready a colander in the sink.
  2. Wash and trim the asparagus- if thick like mine shown, slice in half the long way.
  3. Wash and set aside the peas.
  4. First toss the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender. They will turn a bright green. Test one for doneness. Remove with tongs from the pot and place into the colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then remove and set aside.
  5. Then into the same water, toss the peas and cook for 1 minute- maybe 70 seconds- really, don't over do it. They will also turn a bright beautiful green. Pour the water and peas through the colander and, as with the asparagus, rinse with cold water. Allow to drain.
Composing and dressing
  1. On a large platter arrange the pea shoots, then lay the asparagus on top. Sprinkle with the peas, and the onions.
  2. Remove 2-3T of vinegar/onion juice to a separate bowl, add the mustard and mix. While continuing to mix, add the oil- then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the entire salad and serve.
Notes
  1. Do not be tempted to dress this salad in advance. The acid in the dressing will cause the asparagus and peas to lose their brilliant color. You may compose the salad in advance, and dress it right before serving.
beta
calories
148
fat
7g
protein
6g
carbs
16g
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A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herb Infused Flavored Vinegars

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flavoredvinegar

I’ve long known about flavored oils, and even did a post on making your own here, but when I came across an old recipe for flavored vinegars I got pretty excited. I didn’t know that the chemistry was there to allow the aromatics to infuse into the vinegar. I shouldn’t have been surprised- after all there are vinegar and oil stores popping up all around. Have you seen them? They are these beautiful stores where they have big kegs of the stuff all around the room. You can nab a bottle, small or large, and fill your own. I’ve come away with such delights as Espresso Vinegar, and Cranberry Pear vinegar- but there are countless other oils and vinegars to choose from. It’s a super fun thing to do on a rainy day to run around and sample.

What I learned from an old cook book I stumbled upon, was that infusing vinegar was actually much LESS complicated than infusing oil. How about that? Simply sterilize a bottle, stuff in some cleaned herbs, and then pour over some warmed vinegar. Then wait.

 My first attempt was trying grapefruit, which I used in the Chevre Panna Cotta recipe. It was a tremendous success. It was recommended to allow the concoction to steep for several weeks, but I found it really only took a few days. The longer the better I suppose, but really, it didn’t take long to get a beautiful bouquet going. That early success got me going to try other combinations {there were quite a few} and they were all pretty darn good.

herb vinegar

What I really like about the grapefruit is that it add a gorgeous citrusy zing to your dish. A taste which one can truly come to adore. I have recently learned about myself ,that much of what I really like about Tabasco sauce is it’s vinegary tang. Nowadays I find myself splashing a little grapefruit vinegar on just about everything. The mint is similar as a lightening zip to things. As we are now {finally} getting into spring, it’s a nice note to add to spring vegetables. You can imagine the possibilities.

Forget the finishing oils- bring on the finishing vinegars!

The big surprise was the purple sage. I had bought myself a little plant at the farmer’s market a week or two ago. It’s growing like a fiend in my window box. It puts out these almost alien looking tufted poufs of fronds. Very very beautiful. But even more lovely is the gorgeous shade of pink that it turned the vinegar. Very blushy and girly and delicate about it. I keep it on my sideboard, just because it makes me so happy to look at!

purple sage vinegar, homemade vinegar

What is even more divine is that this little project has cost me little. Vinegar is not all that expensive, and a few herbs? pfft! The fancy schmancy store charges like $7 a pop. I am thrilled that I did mine for just over a buck a bottle. The biggest expense is the bottle, but really anything will do, just make sure it’s sterile before you begin.

So here’s the recipe- Plain and simple-

For most of the vinegars (there were many versions, these are only three) I used white vinegar. Regular, everyday white vinegar- the kind you’re about to buy to dye your Easter eggs.  You could use wine vinegar if that’s all you have, it will just give a slight roundness to the flavor, which could be stunning. Cider vinegar might be good for certain flavors- earthier things.

I used white balsamic vinegar for the mint, because I liked a little sweetness to it. Alternatively you could add a pinch or two of sugar and see how that works for you. Mostly I liked to keep the flavors clean since I do mix them into dressings and I didn’t want to worry about conflicting flavors.

So you get your vinegar, you clean out and sterilize your jars (boil and cool upside down, run through the dishwasher, bake in an oven for a few minutes), fill with cleaned herbs or peels, warm the vinegar to hot, pour over, loosely cap and then wait for awhile. Done and Done. I hope you enjoy these.

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On a different note: You may have noticed, dear readers, that I’ve been making a few changes around here. I migrated my baby over to WordPress last week, with the great help of Jeni at The Blog Maven, who was supremely awesome. I decided to also make a few changes and upgrades, some of which will be coming later as I develop and play around. One big change, you may have noticed, is that I’m now putting big girl ads up. I used to sniff at those who advertised, but I gotta tell y’all, mama needs some new pots and pans, and I’m hoping this will help.

Please let me know what you think, good {preferably} or bad. I really would appreciate that.

Until next time-

Gr