Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring vegetable salad

Roasting vegetables, brings about a sweetness which other methods of cooking does not do. The high temperature of the oven, gives a nice caramelization, which concentrates the flavor of the vegetable. I love eating almost all vegetables roasted and I like to combine roasted vegetables, with some fresh and some steamed vegetables to create a salad with really great flavor.

Since I had some baby artichokes leftover from my spring minestrone soup made earlier in the week, I  paired them with asparagus, new potatoes, Vidalia onions and a tangy dressing with Dijon mustard. I also, added olives for a sharp kick and lots of fresh basil for sweetness.

Spring Vegetable Salad

4 baby artichokes, trimmed and cut into quarters
6 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
8 new potatoes or 16 tiny potatoes (Trader Joes sells them in lb bags)
1/2 cup Vidalia onions, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup Picholine olives (kalamata olives would be good too)
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water till they are fork tender but not falling apart. Cool and cut into quarters if using new potatoes and halves if using tiny potatoes. Toss the cooled potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes till the potatoes take on a nice golden color. Flip them halfway through roasting to get an even color on all sides.

3. Cook the artichokes in salted boiling water till they are tender. Toss the cooked artichoke quarters with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes till the edges are light brown but not burnt and crisp.

4. Blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes till they are crisp tender. Shock the asparagus in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. Then drain and set aside.

5. Toss the cooked artichoke quarters with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes till the edges are light brown but not burnt and crisp.

6. In a large salad bowl, add the dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, white wine vinegar, and a few grindings of black pepper and mix well. Whisk in the olive oil till the dressing has emulsified. Add the roasted potatoes, roasted artichokes, vidalia onions, and olives and toss all the vegetables in the dressing so that they are evenly coated with the dressing. Finally add the chopped basil leaves - mix lightly and serve.



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