Thinly sliced raw asparagus spears are mildly sweet and nutty with a delicate crunch.
Asparagus Salad with Oranges, Feta, and Hazelnuts
SERVES 4 to 6 FAST VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Instead of roasting our asparagus, we took a much different approach and made a fresh, vibrant salad with raw asparagus. Slicing the spears thin was key to keeping them crunchy, not woody. An herb-based dressing complemented the freshness of the asparagus. Sweet orange segments, briny feta, and toasted hazelnuts were the finishing touches. For easier slicing, look for large asparagus spears, about ½ inch thick.
2 cups fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped
Salt and pepper
1. FOR THE PESTO Process mint, basil, Pecorino, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and ¾ teaspoon salt in food processor until finely chopped, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. FOR THE SALAD Cut asparagus tips from stalks into ¾-inch-long pieces. Slice asparagus stalks ⅛ inch thick on bias into approximate 2-inch lengths. Cut away peel and pith from oranges. Holding fruit over bowl, use paring knife to slice between membranes to release segments. Add asparagus tips and stalks, orange segments, feta, and hazelnuts to pesto and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Cutting Citrus into Segments
1.Slice off top and bottom of citrus, then cut away peel and pith using paring knife.
2.Holding fruit over bowl, slice between membranes to release individual segments.
Roasted Beet Salad with Blood Oranges and Almonds
SERVES 4 to 6 VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS With their sweet, earthy flavor, juicy texture, and ruby-red hue, beets are a real showstopper. To make them the star of a simple yet elegant salad, we had to find the easiest way to prepare them. Boiling and steaming diluted their flavor, but when wrapped in foil and roasted, the beets were juicy and tender with a concentrated sweetness. Peeling was easier when the beets were still warm—the skins slid off effortlessly. We also tossed the sliced beets with the dressing while still warm, allowing them to absorb maximum flavor. Salty ricotta salata, peppery arugula, and toasted almonds rounded out the dish. You can use either golden or red beets (or a mix of both) in this recipe. To ensure even cooking, use beets that are of similar size—roughly 2 to 3 inches in diameter. If your beets are larger, the cooking time will be longer. Navel oranges, tangelos, or Cara Caras can be substituted for the blood oranges, but because they are larger you’ll need just one of them.
2 pounds beets, trimmed
4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 blood oranges
2 ounces (2 cups) baby arugula
2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets individually in aluminum foil and place in rimmed baking sheet. Roast beets until skewer inserted into center meets little resistance (you will need to unwrap beets to test them), 45 to 60 minutes.
2. Carefully open foil packets and let beets sit until cool enough to handle. Carefully rub off beet skins using paper towel. Slice beets into ½-inch-thick wedges, and, if large, cut in half crosswise.
3. Whisk vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil. Add beets, toss to coat, and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
4. Cut away peel and pith from oranges. Quarter oranges, then slice crosswise into ½-inch-thick pieces. Add oranges and arugula to bowl with beets and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with ricotta salata and almonds. Serve.