Asparagus & Romaine with Lemon Tahini

Can't believe asparagus season is already here! This year has been hectic traveling wise for me and it seems I lost sense of time. I could blame the weather, which, let's admit, was nothing but s*** lately, but reality is that hopping from one plane to another didn't help with cooking. I can't wait to catch up on things and have so many ideas to share with you so here comes the first one - spring vegetable salad. As green is it may look, toasted almonds and the sweet & tangy tahini dressing add earthiness and depth to this dish. Easy to make, perfect for sharing and packed with nutrients. What more can you ask for.

Tips: cook asparagus for a short time only to keep the crunchiness. Especially if making a cold salad. Use your sharpest knife to slice or chop herbs, this way the herbs won't loose any juices and will not get 'bruised' (no dark spots on herb leaves). Stack large herb leaves one on top of the other, roll into a cylinder shape and slice in a powerful motion. 


Serves 2-4 as a side dish   |   Hands on time: 15 minutes   |   1 teaspoon – 5ml   |   1 tablespoon – 15ml


Ingredients:

  • Fresh asparagus, 10 medium sized & 10 smaller ones
  • Romaine lettuce, about 8 large leaves
  • Fresh leeks, about 2 tablespoons chopped
  • Fresh mint, 10-12 large leaves
  • Fresh basil, 10-12 large leaves
  • Toasted almond flakes, 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh hot pepper e.g. chilli (1-2 teaspoons thinly sliced)

For the tahini dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons of light tahini (hulled sesame seed tahini)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water to dilute

Trim the woody ends of asparagus & place in a pot filled with boiling water (45 seconds for thin asparagus & 90 seconds for thicker ones). Remove from boiling water and place under very cold running water to cool. Cold water stops the asparagus from cooking further as well as preserves the bright green colour of the vegetable. Heat a dash of olive oil in a pan, add asparagus to quickly brown them, then remove from the pan, let cool and cut diagonally into smaller pieces.

Wash romaine leaves and dry thoroughly. Place the leaves one on top of the other, roll in a cylinder shape and cut into thin slices. Do the same thing with fresh basil and mint leaves. Slice leeks and hot pepper, mix all of the dressing ingredients in a glass till you reach a smooth consistency. Place chopped romaine in a salad bowl or serving plate followed by asparagus, chopped herbs, leeks, hot pepper, toasted almonds and drizzle the tahini dressing on top.