The long months of winter greens and root vegetables are coming to a close, and what better way to tip your hat to spring eating than with asparagus? In this recipe for Asparagus and White Bean Salad, asparagus takes center stage with a cast of enthusiastic flavors like feta, lemon zest, mint and radishes. Hello spring!
Served with crusty bread, this salad makes a terrific meal.
White beans provide a delectable, hearty tenderness, without overwhelming the asparagus. Tangy feta, zesty lemon, and a touch of mint gives this salad a bright and refreshing flavor. If you have a special steamer just for asparagus, in which the asparagus is steamed standing upright, cut the asparagus into pieces after steaming.
1 pound asparagus, cut on an angle in 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup cooked (or canned) white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
1. Place the asparagus in a steamer basket, set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water, and cover. Steam until the spears are tender yet firm, 4 to 7 minutes depending on thickness. Drain and place in an ice water bath (or under cold water) for a moment to stop the cooking.
2. Put the olive oil, lemon juice, fresh mint, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Drain asparagus.
3. Combine the beans, feta, radishes, and scallions in a large bowl. Add the asparagus pieces. Pour on the dressing and gently toss. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook by John Peterson (Gibbs Smith, 2006).