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Spring Chopped Salad

 

I don’t really have a story behind this salad.  In a farm town, salads are iceberg lettuce and thousand island dressing and have croutons, shredded cheese and those mysterious and hard bacon bit things on them–definitely not healthy.  Sometimes they have hunks of leftover ham from Sunday dinner thrown in.  Unhealthy, but now palatable.

I was shopping at the market and hungry and throwing everything into the cart.  My cupboards and refrigerator were bare because I had been at my parents’ dad’s house for the better part of two weeks after my mother’s passing.  Asparagus and silver queen corn had made their appearance at the market where they live, so I knew I wanted to have those in a salad.  Then, as I was navigating crying babies and jumping children, the produce guy was putting out crisp heads of green leaf lettuce.  My light bulb went off and here you have it.

Spring Chopped Salad

by Jason Osborne
serves 4-6

1 head green leaf lettuce
half a red onion
1 avocado
1 ear sweet corn
2 small jars artichoke hearts, drained
half an english cucumber
half a bunch of asparagus
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup grape tomatoes

This recipe has a bit of my eccentric “reuse” directions in it. Begin by cooking the eggs. Place eggs into a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and leave alone for approximately five minutes. Then, transfer the eggs to a small bowl of ice water. When cool, roll around on the counter to peel and then chop. Bring the water back to a boil and toss in the ear of corn. Cut the asparagus on the diagonal into hunks and discard the woody ends. Toss the asparagus in with the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes, then shock in the cold water you plopped the eggs in. Cook the corn for 3 more minutes and then toss in the ice water with the asparagus. Tear the lettuce into the salad bowl. Drain the artichoke hearts and halve the grape tomatoes. Chop the avocado, cucumber, and the piece of red onion. Dry the corn and asparagus in a tea towel and shave the kernels from the corn, tossing them into the bowl along with the asparagus and all of the other delicious vegetables. Drizzle the dressing into the bowl from the side and use big hefty tongs to toss everything together.

If you’re going to eat on this for a day or two, prepare the lettuce separately at the time of eating, which is what I did because I knew I would be taking this to work. I dressed the greens before I ate and then spooned the vegetables over it with a nice grilled chicken breast basted in some oil and vinegar.

Photo: Jason Osborne


Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
2/3 cup olive oil
kosher salt
coarsely ground black pepper

I rarely follow the exact measurements. I eyeball everything. A little bit of vinegar, lots more olive oil, a glob of mustard, a thin pour of honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sometimes if I have some fresh thyme I’ll throw it in, but I didn’t have any when I was cooking for these photos.