Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Artists Cook

There's something about summertime that makes me want to step back and allow a certain degree of simplicity to take over my kitchen.  Produce is abundant at this time of year, and cool food is the favorite every night meal in my house.

Summertime salads are one of my favorite lazy days cuisines.  When artists prepare salads, not only do they do interesting things with combinations of fruit and vegetables, but presentation has to be unique.  The perfect platter or bowl only enhances the sweet/savory flavors floating over your palette. 

This Asparagus & Orange Salad is a summertime gem.  You can substitute mandarins for the oranges, but make sure you only lightly cook the asparagus.  The cool crispness of the asparagus, coupled with the succulent juiciness of the orange is the perfect companion for grilled seafood or steak.

Goat's cheese is another of my summertime favorites and I cook with it a lot.  When tossed into this salad it melts into a creamy dressing, or if you prefer, you can crumble the goats cheese over the top and sprinkle it with cracked black pepper just before serving.

Asparagus Orange Salad

2 cups thin asparagus spears
1 1/2 cups watercress or spring mix 
1/2 small red onion
1 orange, cut into segments
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablesppon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup soft goat's cheese

Cook the asparagus in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, or until just tender. Rinse under cold water to cool, then combine with the watercress, red onion and orange segments on a serving dish.

Combine the orange juice, orange zest, sugar, red wine vinegar and poppy seeds in a jug.  Whisk in the oil with a fork until combined and drizzle over the salad.  Crumble the goat's cheese over the salad and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Summertime is an inspiration for me, and this salad makes life easy breezy with a splash of zing.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

Coming up, I'll be introducing you to some of the wonderful artists who have agreed to be regular contributors to this series.  They'll be sharing their own culinary secrets along with some of their fabulous culinary art. We'll also be having some great giveaways in the weeks to come, so stay tuned.

Thanks for checking in. xx