Sunday, April 16, 2017

Asparagus and Egg Salad with Fresh Dill

We all have our favorite sources for rock-star recipes: battered-splattered-dog-eared cookbooks, traditional family favorites, and, in the last 10 years or so, the Internet.  Those of us who cook frequently from the Internet can all agree ... not all online recipes are created equal!  I'm sure we all have our go-to sites for recipes that rarely disappoint - my bookmarks skew generally in the direction of Real Simple, Smitten Kitchen, New York Times Cooking, King Arthur Flour, Pinch of Yum, and The Kitchn.  This week's salad is inspired by this sandwich recipe, courtesy of The Kitchn.  While the linked sandwich is pretty much my favorite spring lunch ever, (and packs especially well for squelchy early-spring hikes,) sometimes I want a lunch that is more greens-forward.  Salad to the rescue!

YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 4-6 oz baguette or other crusty bread, cubed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or grated
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, steamed 2 minutes, cooled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 c fresh dill fronds
  • 8 oz baby arugula

  1. Make the pickled onions: toss the sliced red onion with the red wine vinegar and pinch kosher salt.  Allow to marinade at room temperature for 20+ minutes.  Drain, reserving the onions.
  2. Make the croutons: preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss the bread cubes with the 2 tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and large garlic clove.  Bake the croutons for 10 - 15 minutes, or until evenly dried and golden brown.  Cool.
  3. Make the lemon vinaigrette: combine the lemon zest and juice, garlic clove, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/4 c olive oil, and 1/2 tsp dijon mustard.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  
  4. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the pickled onion, egg, asparagus, dill, and arugula in the jars.  Divide the croutons evenly between 4 snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  5. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with croutons.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Use prepared croutons, pre-cooked/peeled hard-boiled eggs, and frozen asparagus (thawed and drained,) in place of the homemade croutons, home-cooked egg, and steamed asparagus.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: This salad is vegetarian and nut-free as-is.  For a vegan salad, double the dressing, marinade a 14-oz package of extra-firm tofu in half the dressing, then grill or broil the tofu and substitute for the hard-boiled egg.  For gluten-free diners, substitute your favorite gluten-free bread for the baguette.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

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