last week seemed the longest extension of time, an uneventful passing of minutes and hours devoid of sun. it’s easy to get carried away in the midst of a seasonal bliss, hastily forgetting that mid-country the weather is wily and unpredictable always. and while a call to a dear friend or mother inevitably implies a week of impressionable sunshine and possibility, there is always the chance that right before your eyes the clouds gather and the rain collects in every gully and gulch – to which it did. so, while we aren’t in the business of allowing time to be wasted – we spent much of it indoors, perfecting the lines of ideas and eagerly summoning the shape of things to come.
the asparagus is thick and fat in the market, green straws bent into the earth for moisture. my somewhat nomadic habits have prevented me from cultivating a personal crop of my own, but the passion to experiment is ever-present. naturally they seem magnetized to mingle with the bursting spring crop of strawberries. their crisp bite is the perfect compliment to the juiciest interior of fair-weather fruit. a recent favorite includes a raw indulgence of asparagus, shaved into a kaleidoscopic pile of fresh, green salad. combined with a sultry strawberry roasted dressing, i can say that i’ve come closer to the beating heart of spring.
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and peeled
- 1 small red onion, sliced thin
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- ¼ cup pine nuts, quickly dry toasted in a saute pan
- for the vinaigrette:
- (makes 1 cup)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 cup olive oil
- 3 tbl white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbl honey
- 1 tbl dijon mustard
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- assembling the salad: working with one asparagus spear at a time, peel into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler. add to a large bowl, along with any heads that snap off. to the bowl also add the red onion, toasted pine nuts, and feta cheese. toss to combine.
- to make the vinaigrette: preheat oven to 400 degrees. splay strawberries out on a medium roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes, until soft. remove strawberries to the bowl of a food processor and add olive oil, white balsamic, honey, dijon mustard, and cayenne. process ingredients until combined and smooth.