Asparagus, Red Pepper and Spinach Salad

We got together with our friends Jonathan and Priscilla last night for dinner. Priscilla made pasta Bolognese, bread and lemon custard with blueberries for dessert. All of it, as usual, was scrumptious. She asked me to bring a salad. Knowing what the menu was, I had to come up with an equally delicious salad to go with the rest of the meal. And I did. My salad was a hit, and paired perfectly with the meal.

I made an asparagus, red pepper and spinach salad with a light lemon dressing. I literally made just enough for the six of us to enjoy. There was nothing leftover at all. Not even a tiny morsel.

As usual, I started off keeping it simple, then it just kept growing and expanding from there. The more I read the recipe, the more the salad kept growing. The recipe itself said to load it up, and load it up I did.

Asparagus, Red Pepper and Spinach Salad

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks

1 lb asparagus

1 shallot, sliced very thin

1 TBSP garlic

6 cups baby spinach, stems removed and chopped

6 TBSP olive oil, divided

3 TBSP lemon olive oil divided

2-3 TBSP lemon balsamic vinegar or sherry or champagne vinegar

coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

2 hard boiled eggs, crumbled

1/3 cup toasted nuts – I used slivered almonds

4 oz of either feta or goat cheese,

Get a small skillet very hot and add about 3 TBSP of olive oil and about 1 TBSP of the lemon olive oil. Add the peppers, garlic and shallots, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Cook the asparagus. My favorite asparagus are the smaller, thinner stalks. I like to boil them for just about 3-4 minutes. Get the water boiling, then add the asparagus, bring to a boil once again. Do not over boil, or the asparagus will turn to mush. You want them to still have a little snap left to them and to be bright and vivid green. After the asparagus is cooked, cut it into pieces about 1 inch in size, cut at an angle. You can also saute the asparagus, with the peppers and garlic after it has cooked for about 2-3 minutes. If this is your preferred method of cooking the asparagus, cook it all for an additional 2 minutes and add the salt & pepper.

Toast the nuts. I used slivered almonds this time, but you can also use pine nuts, walnuts, or pecans. I usually toast mine in a dry skillet, just long enough for them to turn a nice golden brown, shaking the skillet often so they don’t burn. But you can also toast them in the oven as well.

Add the nuts and vegetables to the chopped spinach after they have cooled slightly.

Add the remaining oils and lemon balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar. I also added more fresh ground black pepper at this point as well. I like my salads peppery. Gently toss everything together. If you are using the cheese, you can add it to the salad at this point as well, and toss it all together, or you can leave it on the side and have people add it later. I used feta cheese, but left it on the side.

Top the salad with the crumbled egg and serve immediately.

The hard boiled eggs and nuts are optional, but both really make the salad. A lot of Europeans and South Americans top their salads with eggs and/or nuts, and I tend to use both as well. I like the added color and textures that both nuts and eggs bring to the salads. This colorful salad was a big hit with everyone, and as I mentioned above, there was none left.

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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