Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Asparagus Salad with Broccoli and Radishes

All I've got to say about this recipe is yum!  It seems so simple, yet it is so tasty.  I borrowed the recipe from my favorite, 101 Cookbooks.  I used broccoli instead of broccolini because I had wonderful, fresh, organic broccoli from the CSA.  I also used almonds instead of pine nuts (because pine nuts are so darn expensive).  This recipe turned out well and it is something I'll definitely make again!
  • 12 spears of thick asparagus, sliced into 1/4-inch thick coins (the slicing into coins is optional, but I think it made it better)
  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • juice from one lemon
  • big pinch of sea salt
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, and coarsely chopped
  • 7 tiny radishes, washed trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • zest of one lemon
  • a bit of shaved Parmesan (if you are vegan, you won't miss the cheese)

1. Wash the asparagus, break off the ends and chop into coin size pieces.

Radishes from the CSA
2. Wash the broccoli and chop it into bite-sized pieces.  Steam the broccoli for a few minutes.  Don't cook it all the way because you will be cooking it with the asparagus later (the original recipe calls for broccolini, which would not require steaming.  The asparagus cooks a lot faster than the broccoli, so it's important that the broccoli has a head start).

3.  While the broccoli is steaming, make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, salt, shallot and olive oil.   

4. Place a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the asparagus and broccoli. Toss well and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for one minute. Stir again, taste a piece, and cover again for another minute - but only if needed. You don't want to overcook the vegetables here, they should be bright and with a bit of bite to them. When the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the heat and stir in the radishes and lemon zest. Toss with the dressing.  Taste, add a bit of salt if needed. 

5.  Turn everything out onto a platter and finish with some shaved Parmesan and top with toasted almonds.
The finished product
Health Benefits

Broccoli - Broccoli is so good for you!  There are too many health benefits to list here.  Broccoli has been shown to lower cholesterol, help your body detox, repair sun damaged skin and help reduce inflammation.  It is high in potassium, vitamins C & K, calcium and fiber.  Check out 10 Health Benefits of broccoli here.  Always a great resource, the world's healthiest foods has a great explanation of how awesome broccoli is here.

Asparagus -Asparagus is also a wonderful source of nutrients for a healthy body and mind.  Due to the high inulin and fiber content, asparagus is great for digestive support.  It is also high in folate, which supports our cardiovascular system and can help prevent birth defects in pregnant women.  Find out more here and go here to read about nine health benefits.  

Shallots - Many of you may not be familiar with shallots.  They look sort of like a cross between an onion and garlic, but taste more like onions (but are a bit sweeter and not as intense).  The shallot itself is very high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folic acid, calcium, iron and is also a good source of protein.  There have been many studies over the years about the effects different fruits and vegetables may have on the health.  Shallots contain two types of sulphur compounds Allypropyldisulphine (APDS) and flavoniods such as quercetin.  People who consume a lot of flavoniods have been shown to have a reduced chance of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes, due to the wonderful antibacterial properties they process. As an added benefit they are also anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-allergenic.  Shallots are especially good at helping the liver to eliminate toxins from the body, which is essential in the chemically processed foods that many people enjoy, as well as helping to process alcohol. Shallots also contain saponins which have been shown to inhibit and kill cancerous cells in the body, particularly liver and stomach cancer.  Read more here.

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