Arugula & Asparagus Salad with Orange Fennel Vinaigrette

S: Spring has sprung! Well if you want to be technical, astronomically the first day of spring is March 20; meteorologically it’s March 1, but no matter the date, Seattle is well on its way to greeting the chirping birds, blooming cherry blossoms, and longer daylight hours with eagerness and excitement.

Spring is such a refreshing and renewing time of year.  A time to get rid of the cold, old, dirty stuff and make room for the clean and green. Green is the color of leaves and trees and leafy veggies and plants that are thriving and quote living their best life un quote, a representation of growth and freshness. 

Particularly in March, green makes many frolic for another reason… St. Patrick’s Day! I actually had to look up the actual reason green is associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Short history lesson: originally blue was actually the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day, until the 17th century when one color of Ireland’s tri-color flag became the popular choice mostly from nationalistic reasons. In modern culture, St. Patrick’s is typically associated with the green, the Irish, beer and shamrock shakes. Food wise, I have to be honest corned beef and cabbage, traditional St. Patrick’s day meal, are probably my least two favorite dishes plus beer, then one I dislike most. But who cares about my opinion, when the world is jolly and six lagers deep? Whether you want to offset those beers or want to combine your love of fresh spring and green together, then this is the salad for you!

Named the “Lean Green Everything Machine”, this salad screams spring with all the greens including arugula, asparagus, and avocado (because DUH). To much green food is never a bad thing, but since  monochromatic food isn’t a trend yet, beautiful pink radishes and the peel of a sumo orange beautifully complement the salad. So many super awesome ingredients in the salad, here’s a short and sweet breakdown: asparagus; extremely high in folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin B1, reduces the effect of harmful free-radicals, anti- inflammatory, helps with health pregnancy, and is a natural diuretic; Sumo: a cross between a California navel, took 30 years to make in Japan, high in Vitamin C, sweeter than an orange and low in acid; fennel: super high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, improves skin health, aids digestion, is a natural cancer remedy and helps ease menopausal symptoms. An A+ for asparagus! Spring is for Sumos! Fennel is your friend!

Whatever green means to you, now you can wear your green and eat it too!

Recipe: Arugula & Asparagus Salad with Orange Fennel Vinaigrette

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:
4 oz. arugula
4 oz. asparagus
4 small radishes- thinly sliced by mandoline
1 avocado- chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
1 Sumo Citrus (I bought mine from Trader Joe’s)
1 fennel bulb
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
a s p a r a g u s
1. Bring 8 cups of water and pinch of salt to boil in medium saucepan, large enough for asparagus to lay flat in saucpan.
2. In medium bowl, fill with 8-10 ice cubes and enough ice water to cover ice cubes. Leave room for asparagus.
3. Break off the stem ends of the asparagus. Asparagus has a natural breaking point in the stem where the “good” part vs. the “bad” part is so just grab the spear at the tip end and stem end and bend lightly until natural break occurs. Keep spear end with tips. Discard of spear ends.
4. When water is boiling, place asparagus in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until asparagus is tender. Beware of leaving them in too long, as they will be overcooked and soggy.
5. After 3-4 minutes, remove with tongs or drain asparagus in colander and immediately put in ice water to cool the asparagus and stop the cooking process.
6. Drain and place in fridge until chill and ready to use.
d r e s s i n g
1. Peel Sumo. Put whole slices into blender or Vitamix and blend until smooth. Save skin for garnish.
2. Finely chop whole fennel bulb. Set aside.
3. In a small dish, pour in orange juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and chopped fennel. Whisk lightly until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Set aside to let flavors merge.
p r e p a r a t i o n
1. Chop asparagus into 1″ pieces and throw into large salad bowl with arugula, radish, and avocado.
2. Pour half the dressing (reserve the rest for later) on top of salad and mix.
3. Garnish with orange peels and enjoy!

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