This elegant salad is made even prettier with the addition of spring blooms — violets, pansies, violas, redbud, chive blossom. It goes wonderfully with seafood or meat, such as lamb, and is an ideal Easter side dish. This was another recipe we demoed on “Recipes from the Chef’s Kitchen,” a cooking show hosted by Lindsey Gustin early April 2014. We made it at the US Botanic Garden April 17, 2014. The recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking.
For the dressing:
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t honey
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 t champagne vinegar
¼ C light olive oil
½ t fine sea salt
¼ t coarsely ground black pepper
For the vegetable salad
¼ C kosher salt
1 bunch green asparagus
1 medium head broccoli
½ C shelled fresh green peas (or shelled frozen)
1 head Bibb lettuce or fresh mesclun greens
4 red radishes
Freshly shaved Parmesan
Make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. Chill until needed.
Make the salad: To prepare the vegetables, bring a large saucepan filled with 4-6 cups quarts water and the kosher salt to a boil. Meanwhile, for the asparagus, trim off the lower third of the stems and discard. Halve the asparagus diagonally. For the broccoli, using a small knife, cut off the florets from the stem (halve the florets, if necessary, so they are all in bite-size pieces).
Once the water is boiling, blanch each green vegetable separately, transferring each with a slotted or wire mesh spoon to a colander and run under cold water or place in ice water bath. Let the water in the pot return to a boil between each blanching. Lay rinsed vegetables on paper towels to dry.
Separate the leaves of Bibb lettuce, discarding the large, tough outer leaves. Wash and dry completely. Shave the radishes into paper-thin slices with a mandoline.
To assemble the salad, in a large bowl toss the lettuce with about half the dressing. Lay the dressed lettuce on your serving platter. Add the vegetables to the large bowl and with the remaining dressing; arrange the vegetables on top of the lettuce. Top with shaved radishes and Parmesan.