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!

4.7 from 3 reviews
Spring Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, lemon and Hazelnuts
A beautiful fresh salad that celebrates Spring!
  • 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
  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.



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
  • 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
  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.



Flourless Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake

chocolate flourless cake

I baked a cake for you, a flourless chocolate cake! I figured Valentines Day is right around the corner and we needed something sweet around here. It’s been a while since I made something chocolate and the fewer the ingredients for me, the better, so I decided to make this decadent but easy to make cake.


I’ve been waiting for just the right reason for me to showcase these beautiful hazelnuts that I recently received from my friend Cathy who lives in Oregon. Oregon state happens to be the single largest producer of hazelnuts in the U.S.

If you have a hard time finding hazelnut flour near you, you can always buy it online, it’s nice to have it for special occasions, I store mine in the freezer to keep it fresh.

Rich, decadent, fudgy and dense that’s how I would describe this cake, just make sure you buy a good quality dark chocolate it makes all the difference.

melted chocolate

I’m not a chocoholic by any means, ( I’ve updated this and that opinion sure has changed! The smell of rich, dark melted chocolate is pretty irresistible, I need to be cooking and baking with it more often than I do. There’s something about dark chocolate, you don’t need much to completely satisfy your sweet tooth, just a little slice will do ya!

chocolate flourless cake

Plop a dollop of fresh whipped cream to balance the yummy richness, and shape a strawberry slice into a heart for garnish and this could be hands down your perfect Valentines Day dessert!

Flourless Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnut meal
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5oz of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • coco powder for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8" springform pan. Set aside
  2. In a large heatproof bowl over simmering water add chocolate, butter and sugar, melt and whisk until mixture is smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool down.
  3. In smaller bowl beat the yolks until they break up. Pour into cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in all the ground hazelnuts.
  4. Beat egg whites and salt into a soft peak then fold into the chocolate mixture ⅓ at a time until incorporated.
  5. Place batter into your prepared pan and bake 35 minutes or until center is firm and springs back.
  6. cool and then dust with good quality cocoa.

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream ( Daring Bakers)

Filbert genoise, praline paste, praline butter cream frosting, sugar syrup, apricot glaze, and a ganache! Phew!! Those were all the components to this months Daring Baker challenge.

I must say It all got off to a pretty good start, I mean my cake itself (the genoise), came together perfectly, it rose nice and I was able to get 3 layers evenly cut.

I think the problem started here, although it doesn’t look that bad, I think I overcooked the sugar which turned into a bitter tasting caramel.

I proceeded to make the praline paste by putting the brittle into my food processor and just letting it go till it turned paste like.

I had no problem with this either, It looks pretty good doesn’t it?

Little did I know at the time that the bitterness of the caramel was going to affect the whole flavor of the cake!

Unfortunately that’s what happened, the whole cake had a bitter taste to it, even my Hubby who has a enormous sweet tooth couldn’t even finish his one piece, believe me, he wanted it to be good!!

So needless to say I was very glad that I halved the recipe. I used a 6×3″ pan, and stuck pretty much to the flavorings.

Oh, and my ganache, well that’s another story, I definitely need help in that department!

Mine never got thick enough it turned out more like a glaze, I probably should have added more chocolate to it, but I wanted to get it done as I was starting to lose day light.

I tried to cover a multitude of sins with my “fancy scroll work,” lol, which I did “Sandra Lee” style, by filling a zip lock bag with the frosting and then snipping the corner like a pastry bag.

Hey, you win some and you lose some! I don’t think “fancy cakes” are my forte’, but that’s what being a Daring Baker is all about, I definitely challenged myself! You should have seen my totaled kitchen, that would have been a great photo! lol

I want to thank our dear host this month Chris, over at Mele Cotte, go over there and you can check out the whole recipe. It was 5 pages long when I printed it out.

And don’t forget to check out the other Daring Bakers cakes, I’m sure there are some gorgeous ones out there!!