Warm Salad of Asparagus and Artichokes
A most unusual salad, aromatic with fresh herbs and tart with lemon, this could become an entire meal with an addition of poached fish or roasted poultry. Note the clever use of lemon pulp. It can be added to almost any salad to add bits of bright flavor throughout the salad.
- Artichokes - 4 large globes
- Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons, divided
- Asparagus spears - 16, blanched for 2 minutes, drained, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- Red Bell Pepper - 1, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Yellow Bell Pepper - 1, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Lemons - 2
- Mixed Fresh Herbs - 4 cups, such as tarragon, green and purple basil, dill, cilantro, chervil, chives, chicory, parsley, and celery leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cherry Tomatoes - 1 cup, halved
- Basil Oil - 2 tablespoons
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. With a large knife, cut off the top third of each artichoke. Pull off all of the lower leaves and cut off the stems. Add the artichoke bottoms to the boiling water and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the artichokes upside down. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the hairy chokes and slice the hearts into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the artichoke slices, asparagus, and bell pepper. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, then set aside.
Scrape the zest from 1 lemon with a zester and squeeze the juice from the lemon into a large bowl. In the bowl, toss the fresh herbs with the lemon juice, zest, and remaining tablespoon of oil. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Add the cherry tomatoes and toss. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon and pull the pulp out of the rind with your fingers. Discarding the seeds, place the pulp and juice in a blender or processor, puree, and set aside.
To serve: Arrange the warm artichokes, asparagus, and peppers on 4 serving plates. Top the vegetables with the salad. Sprinkle the lemon pulp and juice over the salad. Drizzle the basil oil around the vegetables.