Asparagus and radishes are like the Christmas elves of spring: appearing out of nowhere in festive green and scarlet, letting us know that something very good is on the way. But I don't find them together in the same dish as often as I would like. They belong together: the mellow sweetness of fresh asparagus tastes so good with the fresh sharpness of radishes.
This quick, easy side dish tosses them together with a handful of mint. If these are the elves, then mint is the good fairy of spring, and deserves to appear as often as possible.
This is such a quick and easy salad. I sauté the asparagus quickly with a little butter or olive oil — just until crisp-tender. I don't cook the radishes, though; the dressing will mellow and soften their edges. Toss with salt, pepper, a touch of oil and rice vinegar, and you have yourself the best of spring in a bowl.
1 pound asparagus
1/2 tablespoon butter or olive oil
4 ounces radishes (5 to 8 medium to large radishes)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons rice vinegar
Flaky salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 loosely-packed cup fresh mint leaves, stems removed
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and cut each stalk into 1-inch pieces. Heat the butter or oil in a large sauté pan over high heat and cook the asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes, until it's warmed through and tender but still crisp.
Slice the radishes into thin rounds using a mandoline or sharp chefs knife. Toss with the asparagus in a large bowl.
Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Season generously with flaky salt and black pepper. Slice the mint leaves very fine and toss them with the vegetables.
This can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.