Thursday, May 9, 2013

Asparagus, Fennel and Avocado Salad

Guess what?  Local asparagus has FINALLY arrived!  It toyed with our hearts in the Early Spring round, but it is officially here and ready to be packed away into your Crop Share boxes tomorrow morning.  And if you're like us, then your excitement over the first taste of this season's Virginia-grown asparagus has now reached ecstatic elephant seal level...

Yes, we are that excited.  Happy dances did actually occur when it all arrived this morning.

So with a devout love for asparagus, I've never met a preparation I didn't love.  Whether it was the Baked Asparagus Fries from a few weeks ago, grilling them up in the summer, or roasting them up with some olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, there's really no wrong way in my mind.  So it's a bit surprising that last year I came across an asparagus recipe I would have never imagined, was even skeptical about, and ended up falling head over heels for it.  Last spring I helped test out some recipes for a cookbook that Ogunquit, Maine's Chamber of Commerce was putting out.  The Mister and I honeymooned in Ogunquit the year prior, so it seemed like a perfect way to celebrate our one year anniversary, with a little taste of Ogunquit.  And one of the recipes I was sent to try was a Asparagus, Fennel and Avocado Salad.  Like I said, I was pretty skeptical but oh my word, it was fantastic.  This works fantastic as a side dish for summer picnics, but it would even be wonderful with some chicken added to it to make for a fresh and filling dinner.

Asparagus, Fennel and Avocado Salad

1 bunch of asparagus
1 large, ripe avocado
Olive oil
1 fennel bulb
2 Tbsp granulated garlic

For Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp green onion, finely chopped
1/4 Cups cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Cup olive or flax oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To prep asparagus, wash, cut off ends, cut into about 1" pieces, drizzle with oil and place them on a baking sheet.

To prep fennel, cut off base and remove outer leaves.  Wash and thinly slice.  Toss with olive oil and place on baking sheet with asparagus.  Sprinkle both with garlic and roast for about 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely.  Once cooled, place veggies into a bowl.

Cut open avocado, remove the out and scoop out the flesh.  Cut into small, diced pieces and add to bowl with the cooled asparagus and fennel.

Whisk together your ingredients for the vinaigrette and pour over the veggies, tossing to evenly coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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