Monday, May 29, 2017

My Favorite Things Salad

As my birthday approaches this week, I chose to feature my two favorite vegetables - artichokes and asparagus - in a fresh, green, flavorful springtime salad.  I included a lemony vinaigrette for plenty of bright flavor, hard-boiled egg for staying power, peppery arugula as the base, and a generous helping of homemade croutons, because, well, it's my birthday, and dang-nabbit, I love homemade croutons.  :)  I hope you choose to celebrate with me by making this salad!

YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

  • 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
  • 1 14 oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, steamed 2 minutes, cooled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz baby arugula

  1. 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.
  2. 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.  
  3. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the artichokes, egg, asparagus, and arugula in the jars.  Divide the croutons evenly between 4 snack-size zip-top bags for each salad.  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. 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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