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!

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Spring Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, lemon and Hazelnuts
 
A beautiful fresh salad that celebrates Spring!
Author:
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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Tomato Tart with Brown Rice Crust

tomato tart with brown rice crust Nothing beats the taste of freshly picked, right off the vine garden tomatoes, the flavor, the texture, everything is so different, I’m sure going to miss them when there gone, but for now I’m going to enjoy them any which way I can!

Almost every meal I make, including breakfast, you’ll see a side of sliced tomatoes drizzled with good olive oil and sea salt sitting on my table, it’s a staple here in the summer.

garden tomatoes But after hauling in these beauties the other day I decided I’d make a tomato tart for dinner!

brown rice crust for tart I also remembered I had a big bag of leftover cooked brown rice sitting in my fridge, and since I hate to waste anything I thought, why not change it up a bit and make the rice be the crust for the tart instead of pastry dough.  I’m excited to say we loved it, it was so good!

tomato tart with brown rice crust I used a deeper, fluted tart pan but you could also use a deep dish pie pan, I say deep because you want plenty of room for your  rice crust, filling and topping of tomatoes.  Notice the crust edge, it came out perfectly from the pan, it had a nice crunch and chewy texture to it.

tomato tart with brown rice crust It went ridiculously good with the savory, cheesy ricotta filling!

tomato tart with brown rice crust And oh, those tomatoes, what can I say? They were bursting with flavor and took the whole tart over the top!

tomato tart with brown rice crust Would you like me to cut you a wedge?

Tomato Tart with Brown Rice Crust
 
Ingredients
  • 9 inch deep fluted tart pan with removable bottom or a deep dish pie pan
  • FOR CRUST
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion diced and 1 garlic clove, sauteed
  • ⅓ cup of grated romano cheese
  • ¼ cup of loosely packed and shredded fontina or any other melting cheese
  • basil and parsley, fresh chopped, 2 tablespoons each
  • FILLING
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
  • ⅓ cup of grated romano cheese
  • ½ cup of shredded fontina or any other melting cheese
  • basil and parsley, fresh chopped, 2 tablespoons each
  • TOPPING
  • vine ripened tomatoes, any kind, either quartered or cut in half depending on size, enough to cover the top of tart
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine the rice, beaten eggs, sauteed garlic and onion, cheeses and herbs, mix well.
  2. Pat rice mixture into an olive oil sprayed tart or pie pan.
  3. Place filled tart pan on a baking sheet then into a 350 degree F. oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove rice crust and let it cool down.
  5. Turn up oven temp to 400 degrees.F.
  6. Mix ricotta, cheeses, herbs, eggs and garlic for the filling then spread evenly onto the cooled rice crust.
  7. Place your tomatoes all over,slightly sinking them into the ricotta mixture.
  8. Drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes and tart then bake for 30 minutes or until ricotta is set.
  9. To finish it, I like to place mine under the broiler to get it a nice golden color on top, but if you do that, keep checking and don't walk away from the stove!
  10. Let it cool a little before slicing.
  11. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.

 

Signature

Summer Polenta Pizza with Grilled Corn and Roasted Tomatoes

polenta with grilled corn and roasted tomatoes Here’s a great way to showcase all those summer veggies that are popping up all over. Cook up some creamy polenta, spread it out in a pan then use it as a delicious base to set all your veggies on top. The polenta will firm up a bit and you’ll be able to cut it into wedges and serve it just like pizza!

ingredients for polenta with grilled corn As far as veggies go, the sky’s the limit as to what you’ll want to top it with, but I couldn’t resist my sweet garden tomatoes and some fresh corn that I recently picked up and decided to grill. My polenta pizza was served as a side to go along with skewered grilled shrimp, but it can certainly stand on it’s own as a main dish along with a salad.

polenta with grilled corn and roasted tomatoes Be generous with the toppings so that every wedge you cut is loaded with goodness. I love slicing my corn kernels into planks, I think it looks more appealing and deepens the flavor.

polenta with grilled corn and roasted tomatoes Speaking of flavor, what’s more intensely flavored than roasted tomatoes? Nothing in my opinion. Spoon those warm juices and sweet tomatoes all over the top, it’s a match made in heaven with the corn.

polenta with grilled corn and roasted tomatoes The polenta base is creamy yet firm, cheesy, herby, and the top is studded with all that summer offers us. It’s oh so good, indulge!

polenta with grilled corn and roasted tomatoes 

Summer Polenta Pizza with Grilled Corn and Roasted Tomatoes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pint mixed colored cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 garlic clove grated on a microplane
  • olive oil
  • a small handful of fresh basil and parsley
  • 2 ears fresh corn, grilled and cut into planks
  • FOR THE POLENTA
  • 1 cup corn polenta, quick cooking kind
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 teaspoon, salt
  • 2 scallions sliced
  • ½ cup or so parmesan or romano cheese
Instructions
  1. Place foil onto a rimmed baking sheet and place cut tomatoes and grated garlic on top.
  2. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle all over with olive oil.
  3. Place into a 375 degree F.oven and roast until tomatoes blister and juices run into the oil.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh basil when finished then set aside.
  5. For the polenta place the water into a medium sized saucepan then bring the water to a boil.
  6. Add the butter, salt and quickly whisk in the polenta.
  7. Reduce to simmer and keep whisking til nice an smooth and thickens nicely about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese, parsley, basil and scallions.
  9. Evenly spread polenta on the bottom of a serving vessel.
  10. Place your corn and tomatoes all over the top, including the juices of the roasted tomatoes.
  11. Add more herbs and cut scallions for garnish and a final drizzle of olive oil.
  12. Let the polenta firm up, it doesn't take long, then cut into wedges and serve.

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