‘Tis the season when we see asparagus literally “springing up” from the ground. Folks usually either love it or hate it…
Growing up, my mama (the non-cook as discussed before) could open up and drain a mean can of asparagus. Looking back, that was a kinda fancy food for her… a gal who would have been happy living on banana sandwiches.
She did usually make a Hollandiase Sauce. That seems to be a very 50’s/60’s sort of thing and was going way outside the box for her. Sometimes it was nice and creamy as it should be, while other times, it would just be a big thick blob of white stuff. Didn’t bother her one bit, and we ate it. I don’t ever remember her “cooking” any actual real fresh asparagus. That would probably have thrown her over the line as her culinary prowess didn’t reach that far. It wasn’t until way later in life I was exposed to “real” asparagus and how delish it is.
I still keep cans of asparagus in my pantry. It’s nostalgic for me. Sometimes, I’ll just open a can, drain it, and eat it right from the can. All by itself. It takes me back to the shit brown melamine bowls mama dumped ours in for the supper table. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way! OH, what I would give for her to be here to open us a can of asparagus and dig in!
So for those of you who do love asparagus, give this simple salad a try. This vibrant make-ahead green salad is crispy, a little bit cheesy and exact measurements aren’t necessary. Citrus dressing is just right to let the salad ingredients shine too. The salad will keep up to a week so you can easily make ahead. It’s a great salad to take to pot lucks and would be nice on your Memorial Day cookout tables.
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Spring Green Veggie-Pasta Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
- 1 20 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
- 2 cups fresh snow peas
- 1 bunch (about 1 lb.) fresh asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 13 ounce bag frozen sweet garden peas, thawed
- 2 bunches green onion, sliced
- sprigs of dill, sprouts or pea shoots for garnish, optional
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Remove from the water with slotted spoon into colander and let water continue to boil. Drain well and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil (to prevent sticking together) and refrigerate.
- Put sugar snap peas into the boiling water and blanch for about 2 minutes. Remove into colander with slotted spoon and cool with cold running tap water. Repeat blanching/cooling process with the snow peas, then asparagus. When snow peas have cooled to touch, slice into slivers. Blot all with paper towel then refrigerate several hours or up to 2 days before assembling. Blot thawed peas with paper towels to remove any moisture (but do not cook).
- In a large mixing bowl combine pasta with all peas, asparagus and onion. Garnish and toss with a vinaigrette at serving time.
- Zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 lemon and 1 orange
- ¾ cup grapeseed or preferred oil
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon salt
- several turns fresh ground black pepper
- Zest fruits over small mixing bowl. Add juice and remaining ingredients.
- Whisk and cover. Dressing can be used immediately, but best if sits several hours or overnight (in refrigerator). Bring to room temperature before tossing into salad.