As we settled into our Passover Seder last night, I felt a strange confusion….I love this holiday, the ritual and order of story and blessing, all wrapped within the emergence of springtime, symbolized by special foods representing the struggle and bitterness of a complex past, the sweetness and comfort of freedom, and the rebirth that is a new season.
But wait, that’s the confusing part. It just doesn’t quite feel like spring. There is still a chill in the air deterring any buds from even considering emerging, and any farmers from planting.
While I know it will come, I am READY I say. Just as we denounce injustice in our Seder by saying ‘dayanu’-it would have been enough, I say ‘dayanu’ I AM READY FOR SPRING.
In honor of this, I assigned this simple, fresh, crispy and spring-y salad to my students tonight. The recipe calls for asparagus, but we used snow peas with excellent results! Despite the coolness outside, our spirits were brightened as we crunched on this!
From Cooking up the Good Life (by me!)
Asparagus with Citrus and Olive Marinade
The combination of lemon and orange with the Mediterranean olives is fantastic. The strong flavors meet together, and enhance the freshness and spring feeling of this marinade. Add the slightly bitter, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of fresh (and fleeting) local asparagus and it is a unique, tangy taste of the season.
The Family Kitchen: In addition to breaking the asparagus just right, kids can help peel and chop the citrus, and squeeze the juice. They will enjoy the sweet and tangy smell and the sticky juice on their hands, especially if they can lick it off.
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed (see Asparagus and Artichoke Pasta note on page X)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup water
½ red onion, sliced very thinly
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced or 2 teaspoons dried (See Growing Green Flavor, page X)
2 very ripe navel oranges or tangerines peeled, with seeds removed, and roughly chopped with juice
1 cup olives, pitted and chopped
Cut the asparagus into thirds and set aside. Prepare the marinade by combining the lemon juice, honey, ¼ cup olive oil, vinegar, salt, garlic and thyme and whisk well. Add oranges and juice, and olives, mix and set aside. In saucepan, heat water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When almost boiling, place asparagus and red onion in pan, cover and steam until asparagus is bright green and tender–about 2 to 3 minutes. When ready, remove onions and asparagus from pan and cover with marinade.
Chill for up to 4 hours.
Serves 8 to 10