Herbed Asparagus Green Bean Tomato Salad. Late Spring and early Summer asparagus is best enjoyed at its peak. Summer tomatoes and green beans are best enjoyed just-picked from the plants. My Herbed Asparagus Green Bean Tomato Salad is an easy-to-assemble salad except for the blanching which doesn’t take very long. Blanching will help the asparagus and green beans to keep their bright green colors and also lightly cooks them.
This salad was inspired by some fresh vegetables that I had gotten at the Farmers Market and also from my neighbor from her garden. Crisp local asparagus spears, crunchy thin green beans, and cherry tomatoes are lightly dressed and topped with soft goat cheese chunks and pine nuts. The simple dressing is an herb-infused balsamic vinegar and some extra virgin olive oil.
The herb-infused balsamic vinegar came from The Manassas Olive Oil Company in Historic Old Town Manassas, Virginia. The Manassas Olive Oil Company is a locally-owned shop with dozens of flavored balsamic vinegars and olive oils. My husband and I finally visited the store a few weeks ago after finding their products at other locations in our area. Small tasting cups are available to taste the various vinegars and olive oils. I could have spent all afternoon in there tasting everything! You can order online from their website and have the products shipped to you. My husband bought me some of their strawberry balsamic vinegar as Target has stopped production of their delicious version. He also bought a Neapolitan Herb infused balsamic vinegar along with some fancy extra virgin olive oil called Biancolilla.
Blanch the asparagus and the green beans in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain and plunge into a large bowl of ice water. Let sit until the asparagus and the green beans are chilled. Drain the asparagus spears and green beans on paper towels and set aside. Halve some cherry tomatoes. Place the asparagus spears and green beans in a non-metallic bowl and lightly toss with some herbed balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Using tongs, arrange the asparagus and green beans on two serving plates. Toss the halved cherry tomatoes in the vinegar and olive oil that’s remaining in the mixing bowl. Top the asparagus and green beans with the cherry tomato halves. Divide some goat cheese into chunks over the salads. Garnish with toasted pine nuts. And serve!
I like to serve my Herbed Asparagus Green Bean Tomato Salad as a side dish to a piece of baked fish or grilled chicken or even a grilled steak. You could also serve it over mixed greens as a main course salad.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Herbed Asparagus Green Bean Tomato Salad
24 spears thin fresh asparagus
24 thin fresh “haricots verts” green beans, trim ends
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T herbed balsamic vinegar
4 oz. goat cheese, softened
2 T toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper
1. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes and set aside.
2. Bring two 4 quart pots of water to a boil.
3. When the water is boiling, add the asparagus spears to one pot and the green beans to the other pot. You could use one pot for both if you prefer.
4. Simmer the vegetables for 4 minutes.
5. After 4 minutes, plunge the vegetables into the ice water bowl. Let the vegetables sit for a few minutes in the ice water until they are cold.
6. Remove the ice cubes from the water and then drain the asparagus and green beans in a colander.
7. Arrange the asparagus and green beans on paper towels and lightly dry them. At this point, sometimes I cut the green beans and asparagus spears into one inch pieces. And sometimes I leave them whole.
8. Move the asparagus and green beans to a mixing bowl.
9. Drizzle the olive oil and herbed vinegar over the asparagus and green beans.
10. With tongs, move the asparagus and green beans to serving plates leaving the remaining dressing in the mixing bowl.
11. Toss the halved cherry tomatoes in the remaining dressing in the mixing bowl.
12. Top the dressed asparagus and green beans with the dressed cherry tomato halves. You may pour the rest of the dressing over the salads if you like a lot of dressing.
13. Divide the goat cheese into chunks and arrange over the salads.
14. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the salads.
15. Season with salt and pepper, and serve!
Serves 2 – 4 diners as a side dish. Offer with baked fish or grilled chicken or beef. Serve on top of a bed of baby greens or whole Romaine or Redleaf lettuce leaves as a main course salad for two.
Variations: Use shredded Parmesan or crumbled bleu cheese instead of goat cheese. Try chopped walnuts or pistachios instead of pine nuts. Omit the cheese for a healthier vegan dish.
Order some Neapolitan Herb balsamic vinegar from Amazon.com (sourced from the same vendor as Manassas Olive Oil Company):
www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2018)