Springtime calls for a kick in the tastebuds. After heavy, comforting winter food, it’s time for sharp, bright vegetables and acidic flavors that basically punch your palette awake, yelling something along the lines of, “SPRINGTIIIIIIIIIIIIME!”
So, maybe nothing that extreme. But there’s a lot going on in this salad, as you can see from the photo above. This recipe from The Roasted Root immediately jumped out at me when I read it due to several things. One, its use of shaved asparagus; two, its use of fennel, a vegetable I’d never used until this weekend; and three, it was basically a bowl o’ veggies that did not involve lettuce, kale, or other greens of any kind. This appealed to me because I have now let three bags of kale rot in my fridge this month rather than eat them. I love kale, but not this week.
I didn’t do anything intentionally to modify this recipe, but you probably will notice that it seems like I have a lot of onion in the picture above. I accidentally used a whole red onion. That was a huge mistake, and the original recipe has a much more sensible amount.
It also might occur to you that shaving asparagus seems like a major pain in the ass. And it is, actually. You want to choose giant stalks and use a nice, sharp peeler, spinning the asparagus a quarter-turn after every shave, so as not to end up with a giant unshaveable stick halfway through.
If you have a mandoline, use it, or get used to the fact that there is a lot of slicing that needs to be done here and you might as well get after it. I turned on a rerun of How I Met Your Mother (season two) and got cracking.
All the slicing, shaving, and carefully reading the directions is worth it, though. You get a bold, unexpected medley of flavors complemented by the citrus dressing — and, as a side note, the parsley in the dressing seems to help mitigate the onion breath a little bit.
- 1 bunch asparagus, shaved
- 1 bunch radishes (8 radishes), thinly sliced
- 1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup raw walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
- Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and set aside until ready to use.
- Rinse all of the vegetables well and chop off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard.
- Run a potato peeler down the full length of each stalk of asparagus, adding the shavings to a large salad bowl.
- Once you get down to the center of the asparagus and it becomes difficult to peel, you can chop the remaining parts finely and add it to the salad.
- Thinly slice the radishes and fennel bulb and add to the salad bowl along with the chopped walnuts and feta cheese.
- Pour all of the lemon-parsley dressing over the salad and toss well.