Sunday, March 28, 2010

spring salad with roasted asparagus

spring salad with roasted asparagus

Who else, besides me, was lulled into thinking that spring is swiftly on its way? Is everyone raising their hands? Yep, that was me too, in sandals and tank tops. You know, I even moved my winter clothes into storage and pulled out the summer ones. And then, just like that, the weather decided that it was toying with us and pulled a switcheroo. This weekend, in New York – HOLY COLD! I mean, winter cold. I had to dig in my closet again for the puffer jacket and the Uggs. Oh weather, stop being so fickle, will you? This, of course, now means that my closet has stuff splayed out all over the place. Winter and summer stuff all mixed together in complete disarray. I just don’t know what to do with it all, but the mess is killing me.


I know that East Coast folks are waaaaay overdue for their spring. We had a long winter and we’re ready. Ready for summer dresses and flip flops and going outside with our hair wet. We’re ready for picnics in the park, for lazy strolls at night after dinner, for not having to wear a dozen layers. Please. Let. Spring. Come.

asparagus, ready for roasting

In celebration of the false spring (because we know now we’ve been had), but of course believing this was true spring, I made this roasted asparagus salad because what else says spring like asparagus? It was lemony, it was fresh, it had the bite of watercress. And it was the perfect way to usher in the new season, which, of course, turned out to be a cruel joke.

asparagus, ready for roasting

You could make this tomorrow night for the first night of the Passover and omit the cheese if you’re serving a meat course following. Honestly, it works either way. And I often find that what is missing from the Passover table is a healthy dose of greens. Greens I sorely miss and crave right about this time of year. The salad is refreshing and subtle and kind of everything you want a salad to be. Plus the horseradishy bite of the watercress is a bit reminiscent of maror.

watercress, hydroponic

If you’re looking for more Passover ideas, here are a few from the archives:

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls
Beef Brisket with Merlot and Prunes
Almond Lemon Torte with Fresh Strawberry Puree
Citrus Salad with Cilantro & Mint
Wine Stewed Prunes and Mascarpone

And so for those celebrating, I hope your Passover Seder is warm and wonderful; full of joy and introspection.

Spring Salad with Roasted Asparagus
Adapted from Food & Wine

1 lb medium asparagus
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
10 oz watercress
Parmiggiano-Reggiano shaved into curls with a vegetable peeler


Preheat the oven to 450F. Toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the coated asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the asparagus for about 8 minutes – until just tender and the tips start turning brown.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, toss the watercress with most of the dressing (reserve 2 tbsp of the dressing). Arrange the salad on places and top the salad with the roasted asparagus. Sprinkle cheese curls on top of the asparagus.

Drizzle the remaining dressing over the asparagus and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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  • 1
    Dana said:

    That looks so simple and delicious! I love the photos, especially the first one!

    I wish you a lovely Passover, and hope you get to spend some time with your family.

    March 28, 2010 10:46 pm
  • 2
    alice said:

    Beautiful. I love how simple this is.

    March 29, 2010 7:57 am
  • 3
    Radish said:

    Thanks, Alice – it’s so delightfully refreshing. I was excited to have fresh greens on my plate, finally!

    March 29, 2010 8:12 am
  • 4
    lo said:

    When everyone else has resorted to writing about baked pasta dishes and hearty winter fare, thanks for remembering the light at the end of the tunnel. The organic asparagus at the market has been perfect, if not local. And it’s this sort of food that gives us all hope at this dark time of the year. Thanks :)

    March 29, 2010 2:46 pm
  • 5

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    March 29, 2010 7:45 pm
  • 6
    Anne said:

    San Francisco is the same way– sunny and warm last week, and now, rain! But there are hints of spring in the market, thank goodness.

    March 30, 2010 9:49 am
  • 7

    I have been trying to prevent myself from roasting asparagus since yesterday because it didn’t feel spring-y enough with all of this rain… Today, the sky is starting to clear up, and I may just have to bring out the asparagus and Parmiggiano Reggiano.

    Great post, Olga!

    March 31, 2010 7:56 am
  • 8
    bianca said:

    I am seeing asparagus all over the place, Spring has certainly sprung! This looks yummy!

    March 31, 2010 11:16 pm
  • 9
    Claire said:

    I often roast asparagus and shove it in my salads in the spring (and summer too if lucky to find some good stuff) – what a treat! Now I only steam it if it’s going to be dipped in a soft boiled egg.. yum!!

    April 1, 2010 1:33 am
  • 10

    hahaHA. i can completely empathize. same wavelength, yet again.

    April 1, 2010 10:07 am
  • 11

    […] It challenges my creative cooking muscle. Last year, I was all about almonds and strawberries; and verdant, green asparagus. This year, however, I’m all about the matzo brei. If you think matzo is the kind of thing you […]

    April 12, 2011 1:42 pm

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