Asparagus Spring Salad
½ pound fresh asparagus, ends removed, blanched and cut into thirds or quarters (about 20 stalks)
4 cups baby arugula (or spring greens)
1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed (Great Northern or Cannellini)
½ cup hazelnuts, plain or toasted, coarsely chopped
8 to 10 baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and cut into half-inch pieces, peeled or unpeeled
3 to 4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered (can be boiled 3 to 4 days in advance)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, Meyer lemons preferred
½ teaspoon lemon zest, Meyer lemons preferred
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped (basil also good)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Blanch the asparagus first to enhance its color and texture. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, then blanch the asparagus spears quickly for about one minute, no more. Transfer immediately to a bowl filled with ice water, until completely cooled. Remove and dry on paper towels.
Place the eggs in a pot and cover with an inch of cold water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, then turn off the burner, cover the pan, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the eggs and run under cold water or place in an ice bath to cool.
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until just fork tender but still firm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from water and cool under running cold water until cool enough to touch. Cut into half-inch pieces and set aside.
As the eggs and potatoes cook, make the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a Mason jar, then cover tightly and shake until emulsified. Or, use a whisk and medium bowl to combine the ingredients. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired, starting with a ¼ teaspoon of each. Refrigerate for up to one week and shake vigorously before using.
To assemble the salad:
Place the arugula in a large bowl and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Add a ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and black pepper, then gently toss until evenly coated. Place a heaping mound of arugula on each serving plate.
Place the chopped asparagus and white beans in a medium bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the lemon-herb vinaigrette. Lightly toss until evenly coated. Arrange the asparagus and beans evenly atop the arugula.
Finish by evenly distributing the chopped potatoes, hazelnuts and hard-boiled eggs around each salad, then drizzle each serving with the lemon-herb vinaigrette.
- The asparagus, eggs, potatoes and vinaigrette can all be prepared in advance and refrigerated in individual airtight containers until ready to use. Follow the time guidelines below for best results.
- The potatoes can be boiled and refrigerated, whole, at least 1 day in advance.
- The asparagus and eggs can be blanched/cooked at least 3 days in advance.
- The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for 5 to 7 days.