Spring Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, lemon and Hazelnuts

spring salad with asparagus and goat cheese

I’ve been taking full advantage of asparagus season, my fridge is constantly stocked with those tender thin stalks. Besides just roasting them, which is a given, I’ve been putting them into frittatas, risottos, pasta dishes, tarts and a ton of salads.

In this salad today the asparagus is really the star. You give them a really quick roast to get them out of the raw state, slice them in half lengthwise, then gently toss into a hunk of honey infused goat cheese which has been loosened up a bit with a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing. Honestly, you could stop right there it’s that good!

But continue on please because we’re making a salad today.

spring salad ingredients

For the other ingredients you’ll want to build your salad around what’s in season, and being that its spring here I used a mixture of red leaf lettuce and a little arugula for spiciness, crispy radishes, fresh peas and fava beans, I added in some raw zucchini ribbons because I love the look and taste it gives to a salad, plus crunchy toasted hazelnuts.

spring salad with asparagus and goat cheese

Layer everything together rustic style onto a nice big platter and spoon more of the lemon and olive oil dressing all over.

spring salad with asparagus and goat cheese

For a special finish to this salad add generous shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano, it’s a must!

Spring Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, lemon and Hazelnuts
 
A beautiful fresh salad that celebrates Spring!
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Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of asparagus,on the thin side but thick enough to cut in half lengthwise.
  • 1 cup fresh peas, or frozen and defrosted
  • ½ cup of cooked and prepped fava beans, you could use frozen defrosted lima beans
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium raw zucchini made into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, (no seeds)
  • ½ bunch of red leaf lettuce chopped bite size and a generous handful of arugula mixed together or combination of salad greens of your choice
  • 4 oz. of chevre goat cheese, I used the one with honey
  • the zest of one lemon, you can cut up a few slices for garnish after
  • ½ cup of toasted hazelnuts, slightly cracked open
  • shaved Parmigiano Reggiano for top of salad
  • extra lemons for dressing
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Roast your asparagus on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil for maybe 5 or 10 minutes on 375 just until the raw taste is gone, you don't want limp asparagus they should still have a good bite to them, so keep checking. Cool them off and them slice them lengthwise.
  2. Make a lemon and olive oil dressing using 2 parts fresh lemon juice to 4 parts olive oil.
  3. In a bowl mash up your goat cheese and loosen it up with 2 tablespoons of the lemon dressing.
  4. Gently toss and coat sliced asparagus into the mixture, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  5. On a large platter assemble the greens, peas, fava beans, radishes, zucchini ribbons all over ending with the goat cheese coated asparagus on top.
  6. Sprinkle the toasted nuts all around.
  7. Spoon lemon dressing all around, as much as you think you need.
  8. Add shavings of Parmiggiano Reggiano on top.
  9. Garnish with a few lemon slices.

 

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Chicken with Gorgonzola and Toasted Hazelnuts

chicken with gorgonzola and hazelnuts

Here’s a simple way to make your chicken breast go from ordinary to extraordinary, yes plain old chicken breast transforms into something intensely flavored and elegant looking all at the same time.

gorgonzola dolce

It all happens because of this cheese, Gorgonzola Dolce, have you tried it yet? It’s much more delicate than it’s cousin Gorgonzola Piccante, it’s sweeter and has a nice creamy texture and it melts like butter, it’s perfect for cooking.

chicken with gorgonzola and hazelnuts

Everything happens right on top of the stove, a little white wine, a couple of shallots and crunchy toasted hazelnuts complete the dish.

 

chicken with gorgonzola and hazelnuts

Add a side of couscous and maybe some roasted grapes, and before you know it you’ll have a meal worthy of a fine restaurant.

chicken with gorgonzola and hazelnuts

Home cooking turned up a notch!

(Proud Italian Cook is now on Instagram, follow along with me to see what I’m cooking up daily.)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken with Gorgonzola and Toasted Hazelnuts
 
Gorgonzola Dolce transforms chicken into something extraordinary! Recipe adapted from 1,000 Italian Recipes
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded down evenly if too thick
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Gorgonzola Dolce, 1 small wedge, rind removed and cut into thin slices
  • ¾ to 1 cup, TOASTED hazelnuts,cracked into chunky pieces ( you can use toasted walnuts also)
  • chives for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place flour, salt and pepper in a pie dish, dip chicken into flour mixture then shake off, you just need a very light dusting on each side.
  2. In a heavy skillet that has a lid melt the butter and olive oil together on medium heat.
  3. Add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until nicely golden, then transfer to a plate.
  4. Add shallots and cook for a minute then deglaze with white wine, add half the nuts into the sauce.
  5. Return chicken back into the pan and lay slices of Gorgonzola Dolce on top'.
  6. Reduce heat to low, place lid on top and let the cheese melt slow, keep checking until it is al melted but not dripping down into the pan, you want all the cheese to remain on top of the chicken.
  7. Add remaining toasted nuts on top of cheese topped chicken.
  8. Garnish with chives.

 

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Special Occasion Side Dish

special occasion side dish

I wanted to do an update on a side dish that I’ve been making for years, in fact I did a post on this way back in 2008. It’s an old family recipe and it would be a wonderful side dish to your Easter table this Sunday, it goes great with ham, pork, lamb or any roast you might be having.

I’ve also made it many times as a side next to a baked pasta of some sort, like lasagna, stuffed shells, manicotti, you get the picture, it goes pretty much with everything!

It’s the combination of veggies that make it taste so good, there’s Italian flat beans, yellow beans, artichoke hearts, asparagus and believe it or not lima beans, yes lima beans, they seriously make the dish along with some crispy fried bacon bits and garlic flavored olive oil.

You can use a combination of fresh and frozen vegetables, it all works!

Happy Easter

5.0 from 2 reviews
Special Occasion Side Dish
 
Make this for a special occasion, your guests will thank you!
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Ingredients
  • ½ lb of fresh Italian flat beans or green beans of your choice, steamed
  • ½ lb of fresh yellow beans, steamed
  • 1 lb of fresh asparagus, steamed
  • 1 small bag of frozen lima beans, defrosted
  • 1 bag of frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
  • ½ lb of meaty bacon cut into small chunks
  • garlic flavored olive oil, ( a must)
  • extra olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In the dead of winter I have made this using all frozen vegetables but I prefer the combination of fresh and frozen.
  2. In a deep saute pan, cook up your bacon until nice and crispy, if there's too much fat in the pan, drain it off but leave the crispy bits and add in some of that garlic olive oil.
  3. Toss in all the vegetables and then it's pretty much taste as you go to your liking, more garlic olive oil, regular olive oil, salt and pepper, there's no set measurements with the flavorings, it's all according to taste!

 

 

 

 

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