♥ ♥ ♥

the greenest of salads

In salads, spring on 30 September, 2011 at 8:16 am

I was going to write a post about the marmalade I made a little while ago. I was hoping to get it up before citrus is totally irrelevant (it’s heading that way!) and all preserving eyes are on strawberry jams and the like.

But. I’ve been gripped by The Asparagus Bug that’s been going around. And a Wednesday spent in warm, sunny Auckland coupled with some glorious Wellington sun yesterday has catapulted me into the world of springtime and sunshine and bare legs* and picnics. And salads. So a rich, almost-bitter bourbon-citrus marmalade is about as far from my mind as snowflakes and hot chocolates.

Yesterday after work I rushed home via Moore Wilson’s, picking up a hefty bunch of asparagus and some spring onions and feta. I had in mind this salad I made once before, at New Year’s, with friends at Pakiri in this scungy bach (which, awkwardly, had no interior doors) we rented late in the New Year’s game.

I couldn’t remember too much about the salad other than the fact that it contained asparagus and edamame and it was Really Green: that glorious shade of grass-green you get in early spring, before everything dries out and gets all scorched and brown. The colour of my lounge walls the first two years of flatting. In-your-face, can’t-ignore-it green.

So, in an attempt at recreating one of the last glorious moments of  2010 I started at asparagus and edamame. It wasn’t too far a stretch to add some peppery rocket and spring onions, some sharp, creamy feta and smooth-sweet mint. I kept the dressing a simple vinaigrette, with parsley and lemon juice and red wine vinegar and some good, grassy olive oil. It all came together beautifully easily, in a matter of minutes, and tasted so fresh and springlike that I ate a second bowl after finishing the first.

In the recipe below I’ve kept quantities loose – the idea is really to make it how you like it, with the green things you have (though I do recommend the brilliant-green combination of asparagus and edamame to start with).

*The last two days have been my first two (and miraculously consecutive) days of not wearing tights this spring. And I’m sitting here now in a sleeveless top. Bring on summer!


Take about a cup of shelled edamame (about half a bag if you’re using frozen edamame pods), place in a bowl with some rocket, chopped spring onion and mint. Break off the woody ends of a handful of asparagus stalks and slice them on the diagonal. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water (I only cook them for a minute or so, so they’re still crisp and fresh-tasting), drain and plunge in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Add to the salad with plenty of crumbled feta. 

Dress with a simple vinaigrette of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and finely chopped parsley.

Enjoy: it’s a bowlful of health. If you’re not good at feeling virtuous, offset with whatever unhealthy thing you feel necessary (for me, it was a bottle of Townshend Sutton Hoo I sought out after reading this).

  1. Thanks for the link! That salad looks delicious – and I’m glad you’ve taken the less virtuous route with beer. I’m baring my legs for the first time today… Quite a scary sight I should say.

  2. This really does look and sound like the spring-iest salad ever! Except I guess if you subbed edamame for broad beans or something.

    Heheh, perfect excuse for a not-so-healthy dessert to follow :D

  3. Love this salad! So many of my favourite things & they all come together beautifully. Thanks for the link & heres to the asparagus bug lasting as long as possible.

  4. Yum, looks gorgeous! The edamame adds such a nice vibrant green to an already springy green salad. I’ve caught the bug too, I’m off to the market to pick my first bunch up this morning :)

  5. I completely know what you mean about this spring weather. 18 degrees in Wellington yesterday – 18!! AND coupled with no wind. That’s practically summer for Welly.

    Loving the spring salads at the moment. This one looks damn tasty too. I will definately have to give it a go

  6. Green is my favourite colour, and those ingredients sound like a mouth-watering combination – so I am ALL for this salad :-)

    I wonder where to find edamame beans in Auckland, I am sure they must have them but I haven’t seen them around.

  7. Edamame! One of my happiest discoveries ever was that you can easily find them shelled or as is in the frozen section at most supermarkets here in Wellington. Love the sound of this salad, not so much the door-less bach – that is scungy! But being with good friends can overcome a certain amount of that…

  8. Great adding Edamame to the already green salad, I could definitely have more than two servings oft this salad :) Nice blog.

  9. You are making me miss spring! We are in fall now, so a long way to go till I have fresh asparagus again!

  10. There are some big fat fava beans in the garden, just waiting for a salad like this to show them off. It’s so exciting the asparagus has arrived — the first real sign of spring eating.

  11. Alice: I bared my legs for the first time Wednesday and had four consecutive days of (some) sun… such a good feeling!! Any change in colour will probably disappear soon though, with all this rain…

    Zo: broad beans would be perfect in this salad, I just didn’t have any! But great idea, so springlike :)

    Mairi: agreed, my asparagus addiction is one I’d like to keep around as long as I can ;)

    Jemma: hooray, it’s pretty contagious eh!

    Mags: I know! Friday was brilliant – lunchtime picnic in the gardens and everything! Once all this rain clears I hope we have some nice days again soon. Love it.

    Mel: I usually get them in the frozen section of supermarkets/Moore Wilson’s… if you have no luck, most Asian stores seem to carry them!

    Laura: heh heh, the door-less bach. It was all kinds of wrong, though the lack of doors was the least of our concerns! (Well, mine, anyway.) Good company makes anything okay, though :)

    Ali: thanks! I only made two servings, but could’ve easily eaten more…

    Lizzy: I look forward to asparagus each spring SO much. But there are good things about fall… pumpkin spice everything, soups, apples, the beginning of stews and braises… :)

    Sue: Lucky you – fava beans would go great in this. As would pretty much anything green! Hooray for spring :)

  12. I like all the posts popping around lately starring asparagus. So good to enjoy them again. Being a salad lover I’ll have to give a go at your delicious green salad.

  13. It does look like a lovely salad and I too am looking forward to the asparagus season. I’m not sure about bare legs yet though, I may plunge into the sea for a surf at this time of year but still need my woolies on :o)

  14. Vanille: Me too, I can’t get enough! Looking forward to enjoying some more tonight…

    Alli: Last week was bare legs weather but this week has been far from it… I don’t know how I feel about plunging into the sea just yet though! ;)

  15. I really like green green salads, green puts me in a good mood :-). This is perfect for me :-).


  16. Oh, this is my idea of the perfect salad. I have a total asparagus addiction, and would love to be able to find edamame, but they appear to be a bit of a rarity around here. Still broad beans will make a passable substitute I’m sure.

    So loving having bare legs too :-)

    Sue xo

  17. This looks so fresh and delicious, the perfect spring salad. I’m also on the asparagus buzz right now, you’ve got to love seasonal food!

  18. Alessandra: thanks :)

    Sue: broad beans would be great, I’m sure – I need to get my hands on some!

    Anna: me too, asparagus is on my plate almost daily! Am loving it :)

  19. […] noticing it appear at the market a couple of weeks ago, I’ve seen it paid tribute to here, here, and here. I don’t think I’d actually be brave enough to cook it in my kitchen. […]

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