This recipe is to help you use the fresh raw vegetables found in the month of June. We have anticipated the fresh flavors from the field and we finally have the chance to enjoy them. Find your local Farmer's Market, join a CSA (community supported agriculture) or grow some of your own. I always always purchase mine from a local family farm that is known to have the best asparagus in Alberta, well that is what I believe. The farm is Edgar Farms, they are part of the Innisfail Growers Group of farmers. I am an avid supporter of local farms, ever since i moved to Alberta. The ability to taste the freshness, or meet the farmers, is beautiful to me and is readily available at the Alberta markets. The joy in all of it is amazing.
A super easy dressing and salad is all we need. You can boil the eggs and cook the bacon the day or night before if you want to have less to do when preparing it. But keeping your asparagus fresh and shaved is to be saved for when making the salad. Many people don't know that you can shave or eat asparagus raw, oh my it is one of my most favorite ways to eat it.
I am creating a little vegetable guide for the Innisfail Growers Group and in it I will have how the Edgar family shares the best way to prepare, store and other bits of information for asparagus. One tip is like this, shave raw asparagus. I've been doing this for years and find many people don't try asparagus raw. If it is fresh like Edgar Farms fresh, the asparagus is sweet, tender, and full of flavor and nutrients from the sun so i don't always want to cook that out. So easy and delicious.
For the salad:
Chop or tear half a head of butter lettuce. You can use arugula in replace of it if you wish.
Add three handfuls of fresh field spinach, tear it up a bit. (I use The Jungle Farm spinach always)
Add fresh tomatoes, cut as you wish. (If you love tomatoes, my go to is Hillside Greenhouses)
Add a handful of kalamata olives cut in half lengthwise.
Add a finely sliced red onion - about 8-12 ribbons of it.
Add sliced avocado, about half of a large avocado.
Add a bit of fresh dill, tear apart to equally distribute into salad. (I grow my own but Beck Farms also with Innisfail Growers, carries fresh dill)
Add four boiled eggs, sliced.
Add four-six cooked crispy bacon strips, lightly crumble it.
Add the raw asparagus! The star of the salad, I shave the large stalks/spears but as you can see I also added a few chopped and the tops. All raw. All Edgar Farms.
This dressing is one that I use on so many salads, you can add chicken, shrimp, most vegetables and it works perfect with all of it.
For the dressing:
Two tablespoons lemon juice, about the juice of a large juicy lemon.
Two tablespoons red wine vinegar.
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
1/2 oil packed anchovy minced or 1/2 teaspoon of anchovy paste, both found in the section where butter or cottage cheese is found in the grocery store.
Four tablespoons of freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano.
One garlic clove, minced super fine.
1/4-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Six tablespoons really good quality of olive oil.
A sprinkle of finishing salt, I use a Fleur De Sel type finishing salt but you could use a tiny bit of freshly ground sea salt. Do not use table salt.
Mix the dressing ingredients together BEFORE you make your salad. It gives it time to blend all the flavors together. Keep in the refrigerator until using.
Prepare the salad, place the dressing out separate from the salad. Some people will want more than others and some may not want any. Also, once you pour or drizzle the salad dressing onto the salad, your vegetables will begin to wilt. The vinegar and salt with begin to break it down, so serve the salad and eat pronto!
Let me know when you try it! I am always curious as to what part people found most interesting. Kurt wasn't sure about the salad then said, "this is probably the best salad I have ever had. The dressing and asparagus surprised me."
Find your local farmer's market or growers group in your area. I know many of my family and friends in the Northwest Territories do not have as many options so don't be shy to try growing your favorite vegetables and herbs. For those of you interested, Innisfail Growers is at over 6 markets in Central Alberta - two being Calgary.
I hope you are all happy and find joy in each day. Joy is every were if we want to see it or experience it. It is our choice. I choose joy, happy, laughter and really good food. I hope you do too.