Thursday, May 21, 2009

Veggie Might: Chlorophyll and Awesomness Salad (or, Need Salad Now)

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

There are times when all I want is salad. Often those times follow periods of bad eating, but this most recent salad fixation is inspired by all the garden-related food porn in the blogosphere.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been a slave to the glorious photos of asparagus, radishes, green beans, and leafy lettuce.

I mean seriously, check out this radish salad and tell me you don’t want to just stick your face in there? Or this bowlful of chlorophyll and awesomeness? The Kitchn needs to rein it in or I’m going to pack up and move to wherever it is.

These salads inspired me to create something green and gorgeous to shove in my face—STAT. At my local market, I chose a cheapo, yet stunning, bunch of arugula, asparagus, green beans, red onion, and radishes.

Before I got these beauties home, I was plotting my attack. Blanch the asparagus, beans, and radishes; toss with the arugula and onion; and make a vinaigrette dressing to go with it.

Mark Bittman’s Basic Vinaigrette is my go-to dressing. It can be modified to suit your needs (as MB indicates in his post), but is delicious just as it is. Since I learned to make my own, I haven’t bought dressing from a supermarket. It’s so much cheaper, and it keeps a down the fridge clutter when made in small batches.

This salad whips up fast and easy. Blanching is quick and leaves the veggies al dente. You just boil your vegetables for a couple of minutes and then plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking. It’s a great technique for salad toppings.

The green beans and asparagus came out perfect. Blanching took the edge off the radishes, but they retained their peppery snap. Tossed with the arugula and onion, the tangy vinaigrette tied it all together.

Now, my photos aren’t as pretty as the pictures I’ve been lusting after, but this salad exceeded my fantasies.

Chlorophyll and Awesomeness Salad
Inspired by Tortellini and Spring Vegetable Salad
Yields 4 servings

1 medium bunch arugula
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 lb asparagus, snapped into 1” pieces
3 oz green beans, snapped into 1” pieces
1/8 red onion, slice into crescents
dress to taste

1) Chop/slice veggies. Remove stems, wash, and drain arugula.

2) Bring 1–1 1/2 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes.

3) Add asparagus and green beans to boiling water. Set time for 2–3 minutes.

4) When the timer goes off, add radishes to boiling water and reset for 1 minute.

5) When the timer goes off, drain veggies and plunge them into the ice water.

6) Dry and toss with onion and arugula. Dress with to taste.

7) Bask for a moment in the green glow and dive in.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
21.75 calories, 1.2g fat, $.54

1 medium bunch arugula: 15 calories, .3, $1.00
4 radishes: 4 calories, 0g fat, $.20
6 oz asparagus: 36 calories, .5g fat, $.74
3 oz green beans: 27 calories, .4g fat, $.18
1/8 red onion: 5 calories, 0g fat, $.06
Totals: 87 calories, $2.18
Per Serving: 21.75 calories, 1.2g fat, $.54

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