Monday, August 3, 2009

Asparagus Salad

I know what my mom is going to be thinking when she reads this - "asparagus is out of season!!!" Well, I saw some nice looking ones at the store and I have been wanting to try this Asparagus Salad, so I picked them up. I just couldn't wait until next year! I had also seen radishes at the farmer's market over the weekend so I went back and got them today just for this recipe. I also made some plain barley to give it some more heft as a dinner meal.

The sauteed broccoli and asparagus were nice, because they both taste better cooked. The radishes added an interesting color and dimension but they were way too large (the recipe specifies tiny radishes for a reason, I guess). The lemon pine nut dressing was delicious, although it did take two tries to properly toast pine nuts. (Oops!)

Barley takes forever to cook, and I have pearled barley, so it could have taken even longer. For a weeknight, that is no good. Luckily you can make grains ahead of time and reheat them from the fridge, so I saved some for my next endeavor.

Overall, I was not crazy about this salad. Maybe I built it up too much because I really wanted to try it. My favorite part was the asparagus. It was perfect. The broccoli could have been cooked a little more, but that's my fault for not putting it in by itself first. The dressing was delicious and you can easily serve it over any vegetable. I have never had radishes before (that I know of/remember), and they were OK. They were pretty boring. Now that I think about it, they sort of reminded me of water chestnuts, which I really don't like at all. I also wish I could have tried broccolini, but I don't remember ever having seen it anywhere. If you want to add barley (or other grains) to this, I would use just a few small spoonfuls and mix it in thoroughly. I probably won't be making this again. It was OK, but I guess just not what I was looking for!

The good news is that I still have broccoli and asparagus to experiment with something new! I just finished reading Food Matters by Mark Bittman (it's a quick read, since half of it is recipes anyway) so I am trying to keep more fresh produce in the house, and using whatever pantry items I have on hand to turn them into meals. The overall idea of his book is to eat more plants and less meat/dairy products, which is much healthier, so I am giving it a try.

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