We are great fans of Los Angeles chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, whose dishes are never fussy but always fresh and inspired. So when we received their April newsletter with a recipe for Baby Greens and Asparagus with Almond Vinaigrette, we knew we had to try it. Their recipe includes a "distinctive roasted almond salad dressing as the perfect complement for spring greens and vegetables." Our photo really doesn't do it justice, but we highly recommend it.
Although the original recipe focuses on asparagus, Mary Sue and Susan encourage cooks to substitute any spring favorites, from beans to artichokes. We used asparagus as well as snap peas. The recipe calls for mushrooms, which this writer is allergic to, so those were omitted (we can only imagine the extra depth they would give to the dish).
Preparing the vegetables consists of blanching the asparagus (and snap peas, in our case) and sautéing mushrooms with garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Although we did not sauté them, we lightly tossed our blanched snap peas in this mixture just to incorporate some of the same flavors. Baby greens such as mâche, oak leaf, and watercress form the base of the salad.
The dressing consists of roasted almonds, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. This is the time to use good quality olive oil; we chose one with stronger green notes. Blended in the food processor, the vinaigrette is rather thick; we ended up thinning it with additional olive oil and water. (In its original state, we might use it as a dip for snacking on snap peas.) The roasted almonds and the pungency of extra virgin olive oil and fresh cracked black pepper provide just the right compliment to the fresh spring vegetables – distinctive yet not too heavy handed.
• Get the recipe: Baby Greens and Asparagus with Almond Vinaigrette from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger