I made this last week for my sister and her husband while they were in town. I don’t know if we were trying to impress them with some kind of kitchen wonders, but last Sunday night we (I) decided we would attempt to make our own cheese, roll out our own pasta, and whip up some lemon tarts… all after a long afternoon of walking around in the hot sun and a quick stop at our favorite wine bar. We all arrived home sweaty and exhausted, ready for the cooking fun to begin.
The cheese was an epic failure, the pasta was delicious but not on the table until 11:30pm. This salad, however, I whipped up and served right away, and everyone loved it.
Bright, crunchy asparagus pieces are tossed with handfuls of leafy greens in a tangy dijon vinaigrette. But the real special part here is the salty, crunchy, nuttiness from the toasted sesame seeds and almonds. Plus, you can have it on the table in less than 15 minutes.
I’ll be making this one again and again…. with store bought cheese.
adapted from Farmhouse Table
- 2 cups asparagus, tender parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
- A few handfuls arugula or other salad greens (about 2 cups)
- Feta or other cheese (optional)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is boiling, get a medium bowl of ice water ready. Drop the chopped asparagus into the boiling water for 30 seconds, or until it’s bright green but still crunchy. Remove from boiling water and transfer to the bowl of ice water to quickly stop the cooking process. Once the asparagus is cooled, lay it to dry on a towel.
- Toast the sesame seeds and almond slices in a small skillet over medium-low heat with a few pinches of salt. Set aside.
- Make the dressing: Whisk together the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon, olive oil, honey, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Toss the arugula and asparagus in the dressing (taste and decide how much or little you want to use).
- Arrange the salad on a platter and top with the toasted almonds, sesame seeds & a bit of cheese, if using.