I love this time of year when all of the farmer’s markets and produce stands are selling the season’s first fresh vegetables. Asparagus is abundant in the Northwest at this time of year, and I am always trying to think of new ways to serve it. An easy thing I like to do now is to put it on the grill then throw it in everything from strata to salads.
This salad is based on one that I saw in a magazine 7-8 years ago. I long ago recycled the original recipe, but I use some of its basic ingredients—asparagus, snap peas and edamame—in this salad.
I recently prepared this for an event I was catering at which guests would have only forks (no knives), so all of the salad ingredients needed to be bite-sized. (The event menu also included Grilled King Salmon, Quinoa Salad and Lemon Curd Tartlets.)
Asparagus-Snap Pea-Edamame Salad
2 bundles asparagus, woody stalks removed
1 Walla Walla onion or other sweet onion, sliced in ½-inch-thick rounds
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces shelled edamame
12 ounces snap peas, trimmed and sliced in half on the diagonal
¼ cup mint chiffonade
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat a gas grill over medium high heat while you prepare the edamame and snap peas.
Fill a 2-quart saucepan about ¾ full with water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring water to a boil. Add edamame to boiling water. Cook edamame for 5 minutes, then—without draining—add prepared snap peas to the pan, and cook edamame and peas together for 30 seconds. Drain in a mesh strainer, and rinse with cold water to halt the cooking process. Let cool.
Place asparagus and onions on the preheated grill and cook for 5-7 minutes. When ready, onions will be slightly translucent and asparagus should be al dente. How long it takes will depend on the intensity of your grill.
Once the asparagus and onions are cool enough to handle, slice the asparagus in about 1-inch lengths and roughly chop the onions. In a bowl, toss together asparagus, onions, peas and edamame.
Just before serving, add mint, lemon zest, vinegar, salt and pepper, and stir until combined, adjusting seasoning as needed. Top with goat cheese crumbles. In the photo above, I garnished the salad with some chive blossoms from my garden.
Tina’s Tip: This is a good dish to prepare in advance, but if you decide to do that, wait until just before serving to dress with the mint, lemon zest, and vinegar. When left to sit for too long, the acid in the vinegar and zest will cause the vegetables to turn gray instead of the nice intense green you want, and the mint will get a bit mushy.