Our baby boy is due to arrive any day, so it feels strange to show up here and talk about salad—even a very good one. But, then, it also would be strange not to check in here before he arrives, before our world shifts agains. Plus, I’ve set my mind to spending the next few days wrapping up loose ends and to leave this salad out there, the photos languishing on my computer, soon to be buried by an onslaught of tiny human photos, would be to leave a loose end floating in the breeze.
So, here I am, with salad. At its heart are three things that I’ve been eating in combination every chance I get: avocado, radish, and asparagus, quickly cooked with chili flakes and doused in lemon juice. I’ve eaten the trio over scrambled eggs, atop tortilla chips, stirred into quinoa or farro, straight up. Here, though, they’re folded into a chopped salad full of color and crunch. I’m head over heels for it.
Call it a pregnancy craving, call it spring inspiration, but apparently I call it lunch. Everyday, lately. Which is easy to do now that radishes (!) and asparagus (!!) have shown up at our Sunday farmers’ market, bringing with them that annual Christmas morning-feeling.
With that, it’s back to my to do list, one more item checked off. I’ll be back soon with news (of the non-salad variety!).
Spring Chopped Salad
Serves 1 (and can be easily scaled up)
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
10 or so asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
pinch red pepper flakes
kosher salt, to taste
juice of 1 lemon, divided
1/2 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce
4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons crumbled feta
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a glug of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt to taste. Cook for several minutes until just soft and browned in spots. Remove from heat, and stir in half of the lemon juice. Allow to cool slightly.
Place the romaine, radishes, celery, avocado, feta and cooked asparagus in a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and a bit (a couple teaspoons) of the olive oil. Dust with black pepper. Toss gently to combine (clean hands work well here). Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding more oil or salt or pepper if it suits you.