What’s summer without a delicious summer salad recipe? This creative and chic combination of hazelnuts and asparagus pairs the perfect balance of crunch and tenderness to excite even the pickiest palettes. The recipe calls for tiny dandelion greens, but feel free to swap these for a blend of young baby lettuces instead. Either way, it’s a fresh new way to add flair to any summer meal.
Tip: Short on time? You can start prepping early. Steam and chill asparagus, skin, toast and chop the nuts, shred the cheese, make the dressing. You can even plate the lettuces and asparagus earlier in the day and refrigerate them, covered with plastic wrap. All you need to do at the last minute is sprinkle the cheese, nuts and dressing over the salad just before presenting.
- 3/4 cup [200 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup [65 ml] red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- 1 pound [500 g] pencil-thin asparagus, trimmed of tough ends
- 12 cups (about 14 ounces or 400 grams) of mixed lettuces
- 3 ounces [90 g] toasted hazelnuts, skinned and coarsely chopped
Steam the asparagus until tender but still crisp, for about three or four minutes. (You can do this in the microwave, with just a few drops of water in a sealable plastic bag, for one or two minutes.) Rinse under very cold water to stop the cooking and preserve the vivid green color. Cut each stalk in half diagonally.
Blend the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl, or shake in a covered jar.
Divide the greens among six or eight salad plates and scatter the asparagus pieces over the greens. Place a portion of the coarsely shredded cheese in the center of each salad, and then sprinkle the chopped nuts around the cheese. Just before serving, lightly drizzle the dressing over the salads.