Friday, June 29, 2012

Spring Panzanella

There is no better way to celebrate the bounty of spring - this salad is truly spring on a plate. Bite size croutons tossed with tender pencil asparagus, sweet english peas, crisp French radish and dressed with a combination of mild oniony chives, fresh mint, and herby parsley and a lemony dressing. Every bite is fresh and light and completely delicious.

Spring Panzanella

3 cups croutons or 1/2 baguette cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon pepper (optional)
Two, 3 inch long pink radish, cut into julienne
1/2 lb Fresh green peas - 1 cup shelled
1/2 lb thin asparagus - cut into 3/4 inch pieces
4 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, finely shredded
1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely minced

Juice of 1 medium lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. If you are using a baguette, toss the cubes with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and lemon pepper if using. Spread out onto a baking sheet in a single layer and cook for 6 minutes. Remove when cool and place into the salad bowl.
  2. Blanch the peas for 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size of the peas in salted boiling water and shock in ice  cold water. The peas should be tender but crisp.
  3. Blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water as well till tender about 3 minutes. Drain and shock in iced water.
  4. Make the dressing and set aside.
  5. To the croutons, add the blanched vegetables, radish and the herbs. Toss with the lemony dressing. Set aside for an hour before serving.
Serves 4

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