I don’t know about you but sometimes (okay, pretty much every time) I get a bit carried away at Costco and stray from my normal produce purchases. I know better. I’m usually safe with most fruit and a few items likes peppers, celery, onions and cucumbers but anything beyond that is destined to be half eaten then go bad and be thrown out despite my best intentions. Then I feel really bad about myself. Such was about to be the case with a just over 2 pound bag of asparagus that had reeled me in, so I had to come up with a plan to save at least a good portion of it. I’m quite pleased with the result.
A marinated salad is a great idea. I’m not boasting, I certainly didn’t invent the idea of a marinated salad, I’m simply stating a fact. I’m going to start making them a lot now that I’ve figured this out. You see, not only are they great thirty minutes after they’re made, they are great three, even four days later and probably longer although they will start to lose the crunch. They make life a lot easier because you have pre-chopped veggies that are already in dressing and you can either serve them as is or toss them with fresh greens (arugula would be fabulous) for a super fast salad. You could also use them in a wrap with a little feta or goat cheese; toss them with pasta, quinoa or rice; add a protein like chicken or fish; the possibilities abound.
I happen to really like asparagus raw if it’s super thin so I don’t blanch it but you certainly can give it a quick blanch if you prefer, especially if you have thicker stalks. Just don’t over do it because you want it to keep a little of it’s crunch and all of it’s bright color. Keep in mind the acidity in the vinegar will “cook” the vegetables slightly.
Marinated Chopped Vegetable Salad
(makes about 5 cups)
1 cup onion (I used a sweet yellow onion but red onion would work too), chopped
1 cup bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 cups asparagus, chopped
1 large, English cucumber (or 2 small Persian)
6 radishes, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher/coarse salt
freshly ground pepper (1/4 – 1/2 tsp, to your taste)
1/2 tsp dried oregano flakes
1 tsp basil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Chop vegetables and place in a large bowl.
Add salt, pepper, oregano and basil and stir to coat the vegetables.
Stir in red wine vinegar to coat the vegetables then repeat with olive oil. Allow it to marinate at least 30 minutes before serving or keep refrigerated to continue marinating. It should keep at least a few days.
The night I made it I served it with some grated parmesan cheese then I used it the next couple days to make delicious wraps with naan bread, arugula and goat cheese.