This past weekend, Michael and I celebrated out 1 year anniversary. Our anniversary is on Cinco de Mayo, and I kind of love that we share our anniversary with a silly, happy, tequila drinking, mexican food eating holiday. I cannot believe it has been one year already, this has undoubtedly been the fastest year of my life. Well ... know what they say .......
We didn't make a big deal over our anniversary. We spent the day attending a culinary class that Michael had gotten me for Christmas. For dinner, we had sushi at a no-frills, hole-in-the-wall sushi place down the street from us. It was peaceful, perfect, exactly how I wanted it to be.
In celebration, I thought about posting a fun cupcake recipe for you here, or maybe even a mexican-themed dish, but I just wasn't feeling it. I have been really into spring vegetables and salads recently, so instead I thought I would go with one of my newest and prettiest salads.
Simple, perfect, not over the top, just how our anniversary was spent.
We are in the height of asparagus season right now, and the asparagus that I've been finding at the markets have been so good that they are just as deliciuos raw as they are cooked. If you can find them, the white asparagus are a real treat. They have a slightly brighter taste than the green, and they go so well together in this salad, visually and taste-ually (is that a word? I don't think so).
The carrots add another layer of taste and color to the dish. I looked for colorful carrots, and could not find any, but if you are lucky enough to find some I am sure they would make for a stunning presentation.
Thinly slicing and marinating vegetables has a way of making raw vegetables taste "cooked". You can eat this totally raw, or if you want a little more umph to it you can add in rice, quinoa, millet, or any grain or you like. I loved the look of the red rice. I'm big into color coordination here if you haven't been able to tell.
shaved asparagus + carrot salad with a toasted cumin vinaigrette
enough for 4 as an appetizer, or 2 as a meal
4 green asparagus (on the thick side, if you can find them), shaved (instructions to follow)
4 white asparagus, shaved (or if you cannot find white asparagus, just use 4 more green)
2 carrots, shaved
the juice of 1 lemon
a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
for the toasted cumin vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of vegenaise or mayo
a pinch of salt + pepper
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of sunflower oil (or another neutral tasting oil)
optional add ins: some rice for serving (I used a red rice), some micro greens as a garnish
If you're using, prepare the rice or grain of your choice.
Then, Shave and marinate the vegetables:
- I did this with a vegetable peeler. Peel lengthwise down the carrot or asparagus. For the carrot, I found it was easier to cut down a side so you have a flat side to lay the carrot down on. It gave more control when peeling.
- Place the shaved carrot and asparagus in a medium size bowl and squeeze the lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over them and season with a little salt. Allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes while you are preparing the dressing.
Make the vinaigrette:
- Lightly toast the cumin seeds in a small pan over low heat for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn the seeds. **If you do not have cumin seeds, you can use the powder, but do not toast the powder. Just add about 1/2 teaspoon to the dressing in the food processor.
- Place the toasted seeds into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. **If you do not have a spice grinder handy, you can add the seeds directly to the food processor (next step). You will end up with pieces of the whole seed in the dressing, which can be a nice addition.
- Then, add the seeds (ground or whole) to the food processor along with the mustard, vegenaise, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Run the food processor continuously and add in the oil in a slow stream until it has emulsified. Give it a taste and adjust any seasoning accordingly.
Assemble the salad:
- Drain the asparagus and carrots before plating.
- Start with a scoop of rice, if you're using. Then add the drained asparagus and carrots on top. They should be very pliable and will pile up nicely.
- Drizzle the cumin vinaigrette on top and finish with some fresh black pepper and a sprinkle of micro greens (if you're using).
- Any extra dressing or vegetable should keep well for several days in an air-tight container in the fridge. I save the extra dressing and use it on other salads throughout the week.