Lemon Pepper Asparagus Salad

May 6, 2011

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I’m kind of fixated on this dish as of late. Isn’t spring a lovely time for asparagus?

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I made a hearty Italian meal the other night and wanted a little something green to serve with it. A cold asparagus salad sounded perfect. Something simple and easy of course.

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I’ve noticed a few other asparagus recipes on the web lately. Smitten Kitchen boasts a gorgeous plate of ribboned asparagus.  As much as I love the presentation, I hate peeling vegetables. I avoid tedium at all costs. And I’m especially ungifted at peeling asparagus. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I opted to chop mine into tiny buttons. Take a bunch of rinsed asparagus and line em up like so.

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And off with their heads!

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Ouch!

Once you’ve chopped the stalks into symmetrical bits, toss them into a pan that has a good fitting lid. Add a splash of water and cook them on medium heat until they turn bright green. This should only take a minute or two. Then blanch them by transferring the asparagus to a bowl of ice water.

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This technique is called blanching and is used to stop the cooking process immediately. This allows the asparagus to retain their gorgeous green color and crunchy texture. It also makes the dish more vibrant and interesting.

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Once they’ve cooled, strain the asparagus and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of pepper, two Tablespoons olive oil and the juice and zest of half a lemon.

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Give it a good stir and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

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This dish is so versatile and really great for leftovers. You could easily make a pasta salad version of this for picnics and potlucks. You could also spruce it up with tomatoes and corn for a colorful, playful twist.

Here’s a recap of the recipe with instructions.

Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)

1 bunch asparagus (rinsed)

zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

2 teaspoons pepper

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

bowl of ice water (for blanching)

Directions: Chop the asparagus into small pieces. Put the asparagus and a splash of water in a pot on the stove top. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until asparagus turn bright green. Turn off the heat and transfer the asparagus to the ice bath. Allow to sit in the ice water for a couple of minutes. Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and stir well. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with extra lemon zest if desired.

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Raw Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing
  2. Endive and Radish Salad with Parsley Lemon Dressing
  3. Asparagus Fettuccini Alfredo
  4. Strawberry and Pecan Quinoa with Honey Lemon Dressing
  5. Lemony Asparagus with Tortellini

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

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Donna May 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm

This was delicious! I took it to a small potluck today and everyone raved about it. I also grated a little fresh parmesan cheese on top.

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Love the addition of parmesean. Rock solid! Glad you liked the dish and thanks for the feedback!

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Kat @ Sensible Lessons May 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm

LOVE Asparagus! Even better cold – I’ll have to try this!

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Cathy @ What Would Cathy Eat? May 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

How simple. I have some asparagus handy and will try this tomorrow!

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 8, 2011 at 9:48 am

Great! Hope you like it!

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jen May 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm

So fresh and simple, love it! The perfect way to take advantage of them while they’re in season right now :)

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I’m also a little weary of peeling asparagus! This looks great.

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Aparna E. May 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

Mmm asparagus! I think it tastes good any time of year. This sounds yummy and simple to make!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 6, 2011 at 9:10 am

I love asparagus – I got unnaturally excited to to see it at my local market the other day looking so fresh! :)

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm

LOL! A good looking bunch of asparagus almost always gets me excited! ;)

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