Late asparagus, early peas make elegant salad

Asparagus recipes had no sooner popped up on this blog than the weekly food section proclaimed it was time for peas.

True, the season for the two, when both are fresh and locally grown, do overlap a bit. And that window in Southern Oregon is typically June, when latecomer asparagus and the earliest peas are widespread at farmers markets, farm stands and some locally owned grocers.

Here’s a simple but elegant salad that uses both asparagus and peas to full effect. Salty, crispy prosciutto offsets the fresh vegetable flavors. Cooked and crumbled bacon or diced, cooked pancetta are fine substitutes.

Tribune News Service photo

Asparagus Salad With Peas and Crisp Prosciutto

2 teaspoons minced or pressed garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of sugar to taste

1 1/2 pounds asparagus

1 cup shelled fresh English peas or good-quality frozen peas

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 thin slices prosciutto, cut into slivers

6 cups mixed butter lettuces and arugula

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the garlic, lemon and orange juices, chives, the 1/3 cup olive oil and salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Set aside.

Peel and trim the asparagus stems if needed. Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and boil for 2 to 4 minutes, or until crisp tender. Add the peas during last minute of cooking. Do not overcook. Transfer to a bowl and run cold water over asparagus and peas to stop cooking.

Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and sauté until crisp, for about 1 minute. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Arrange the lettuce and arugula on plates. Top with asparagus, peas and proscuitto. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted by the Detroit Free Press from Food & Drink magazine, spring 2009 issue.

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