Green Beans, Asparagus and Heartichoke Salad
This is a fun little salad or side dish. It's very basic in its ingredients, but has AMAZING flavors! When I first thought of the idea, I called it "Green Things Salad", in my mind. I'm not quite sure why, as a "Green Thing" to me is usually parsley or some other kind of herb, of which this DOES have some oregano, but it's not an overly herby salad. It's really just a well cooked blend of asparagus, green beans and artichoke hearts!
Here's where the tricky part comes in ... the method of cutting the asparagus and beans. This is TOTALLY optional, but it DOES make a bit of a difference in the taste and texture of the recipe. Give it a shot if you've got an extra 10 minutes to kill.
The idea is to cut the beans and asparagus "on the bias". Imagine an asparagus stalk. Rather than cutting it STRAIGHT DOWN, turn the stalk 45 degrees and cut every 1/4-inch, or so. You'll wind up with little diamond shaped pieces of asparagus. Kinda fun! Now, imagine doing an even more exaggerated version of that! Turn it about 80 degrees, and cut about every 2 millimeters. This should result in long thin strips of asparagus! If you do the same thing with the green beans, you've got something thin, attractive, a bit different and something eager to be coated with a simple lemon-herb dressing!
However, before we do that, let's give it a quickie blanch and shock (boil in salted water, then plunge into ice water). This will allow it some level of crisp and flavorful vibrancy, but without it having that overwhelming RAW raw flavor.
Once they've chilled down, we'll add some capers, toasted pine nuts, a bit of chopped fresh oregano and ... marinated heartichokes!
SUCH a lovely little salad. Serve as a side, or even bring a big batch to your next pot luck!
Alternate Note: As I said, the cutting method is optional. If you were to snap the fibrous bottom 2 or 3 inches off of each spear, then blanch and shock the beans and spears, whole, you'll STILL have an quite tasty salad, but it'll be a bit more rustic and the dressing will coat a little less actual surface area, permeating the dish a little less. STILL an awesome salad, but ... just a bit different. I kept this vegan, but ... obviously, this would be delicious topped with some freshly crumbled bacon strips and shaved parmesan!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 4 Servings
- 1 bunch asparagus fibrous ends removed and cut into thin strips
- 1/2 lb green beans ends removed and cut into thin strips
- 8 whole artichoke hearts in oil drained and cut into 8 wedges, each
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1 tbsp capers drained and coarsely chopped
- 2 each garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tsp fresh oregano (thyme rosemary, sage and/or marjoram), rough chop
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil good quality, divided
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- salt and pepper to taste
Place a medium sized pot with about a gallon of water on the stove, to boil. Once it boils, add about a scant 1/4 cup of salt.
Cut the asparagus and green beans on a very strong bias, resulting in thin strips about 1 to 1 1/2-inches long.
Place a colander or food strainer in an empty sink. Also, assemble a medium sized bowl filled about halfway with ice water. Have both of these ready and waiting.
Drop your beans and asparagus into the boiling water and stir to submerge. Allow to cook for about 30 to 45 seconds (1 to 1-1/2 minutes, if left whole or largely whole). Immediately pour the contents through the strainer and then transfer the veggies into the ice water to chill completely through.
While the veggies chill, in a medium sized salad bowl, add the artichoke hearts, capers, pine nuts, chopped oregano, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Strain the veggies from the ice, and maybe even blot with a paper towel to get the extra water off of them. Add the dried and chilled green beans and asparagus to the salad bowl. Toss all the ingredients with a bit of salt and pepper. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve!
Serving: 4g | Calories: 276.09kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.41g | Protein: 4.96g | Fat: 28.055g | Fiber: 6.475g