Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Asparagus Salad with Gorgonzola Basil Pesto

I am back from five beautiful days in Florida. We were there for a wedding but decided to stay a couple extra days to soak up some sun and beach time. Unfortunately, the ocean temperature was a bit too cold to go in, at least it was for me. Luckily I had brought my kindle, and was  just as content sitting on the beach and catching up on my reading.

One of the great things about returning to Minnesota at this time is that you really get to see the seasons change. When we left, everything was still brown and grey but in a matter of five days, trees are filled with small green leaves, lawns are already in all their glory, and Minnesotans are coming out of the winter rut. 

There are also seasonal changes  in the groceries. At the moment, asparagus are at their peak so I took the opportunity to snatch a fresh bunch. I do not remember where but I read that, when choosing them, you should look for thicker spears because they have a juicier interior and are sweeter. Previously, there was only one way in which I prepared asparagus: steamed for two to three minutes, then seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. To be honest, I am a little tired of that. So, today, I'm sharing my newest asparagus recipe. It does start by steaming but by adding a few extra ingredients a lowly side dish is transformed into a filling lunch or dinner salad.

Asparagus Salad with Gorgonzola Basil Pesto
Serves 2

1 lb asparagus
2 eggs
3 tbsp olive oil
2 oz gorgonzola
5 or 6 large basil leaves 
1 small avocado
candied pecans
salt pepper
french bread, optional

1. To prepare pesto, puree gorgonzola, olive oil and basil leaves in food processor until relatively smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
2. Steam your asparagus for two minutes, or if you prefer, get four cups of water boiling, add asparagus and boil for a minute or two. Remove the steamed or boiled spears to an ice bath. 
3. Meanwhile, fry eggs in hot skillet. Season with salt. Alternatively boiled eggs can be substituted here. 
4. Plate the salad by layering half of the asparagus spears, an egg, drizzle on pesto and garnish with half of the sliced avocado and candied or plain pecans. Repeat for the next salad. Serve with a slice of french bread. 
*Remember, this recipe serves two but it can be easily doubled or tripled. 


Reeni♥ said...

What a gorgeous salad. I love the fried egg! And the pesto-how interesting and delicious!

Tangled Noodle said...

My husband loves gorgonzola - this will surely be a big hit for him. Perhaps I'll make extra to use on pasta, too!

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

Love the gorgonzola and this is a such beautiful and colorful salad! Everything with pesto is glorious :)

Natasha said...

Yes guys, the pesto worked really well here. I used the leftover on a pizza. Absolutely delicious!

zerrin said...

So fresh, so rich and so unique! If there is egg, I'm always in. Thanks for the recipe.

Natasha said...

Zerrin: me too! I never pass on a fried egg.

Marina7 said...

looks good....esp with the avocado on top! missing your wonderful food tash...