asparagus, tomato, and orzo salad
Asparagus is in season ’round here. ‘Round here being Georgia, by the way. We like to either lop off bits of words or smoosh ’em all together ’round heeyuh in these parts, ya’ll. I’m not a native southerner but I have grown quite fond of the language.
I’d always thought that I was supposed to select the bunch of asparagus with the thinnest stalks–supposedly the most tender. Recently, I read that the thickness doesn’t matter. Just be sure to choose a bunch of uniform size so they cook at the same time. Look for firm, smooth, bright green stalks with tightly closed tips, and be sure that the cut ends aren’t dried out–a sign of old age. Don’t wash before refrigerating, as that promotes rotting. It’s best not to refrigerate fresh asparagus more than a few days. I just wikipedia-ed the crap out of asparagus, ya’ll!
p.s. you might notice cucumber in the picture. It was fine–refreshing and all–but it seemed a little out of place in the salad. I don’t think I’ll use it next time.
Asparagus, Tomato and Orzo Salad (adapted from bon appetit)
about 6 servings
FOR THE DRESSING:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
FOR THE SALAD:
1 pound dry orzo
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped
To make the dressing, whisk the first five ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil to emulsify.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of water with ice cubes. Boil asparagus until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Fish out with a slotted spoon or spider and transfer to the ice bath. Add orzo to boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Drain asparagus. Combine with cooled orzo, green onions, tomatoes, parsley, and dressing. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with crumbled feta cheese, if you’re into that sorta thing.