A Lovely Montreal Lady & A Singing Spring Asparagus Salad, what a duo.

29 May

This lovely Montreal lady is a good friend of mine and the one who introduced to me many recipes. This lady and I love going to the Jean Talon market to buy some market fresh seasonal ingredients. We make it into an adventure whenever we go, ask her about the time we bought some pepper plants! Her name is Teo, she is a fearless cook, who can throw herself into any recipe with a sense of enthusiasm and adventure that is almost enviable. I have invited her to share some of her recipes and she so graciously agreed! Here is Teo’s Singing Spring Asparagus Salad.
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

Wild rice is actually a seed, not a grain, so it’s a great go-to for
those of you eating paleo or staying away from refined carbs. [So is
quinoa, actually, but more on that later if Helen wants to invite me
back.] Asparagus is synonymous with spring, and whenever I see it in
big bunches at the market I get a little giddy. It’s everywhere now,
so try to get your fill before it’s gone. If you go to the Jean-Talon
market
, there’s a man selling bunches of wild Québec asparagus, for
pennies (South side, next to the fresh eggs and where, later, the
awesome garlic will be). Mental. If you get wispy thin stalks
(smaller than a pencil) then you should chop them in
two-centimeter-ish long pieces. Anything little-finger sized and
bigger should be chopped very thin. You might want to do them on the
thickest setting of your mandolin, if you have one…ie, about the
thickness of an earlobe would be good. Enjoy!

For this recipe you will need
Ingredients
4-6 leaves of fresh sage, slivered (tarragon would be good too)
1 french shallot (or a few tablespoons of onion), diced very very finely
1 bunch of asparagus, sliced as per headnote
1 handful and a half of hazelnuts
1 to 1 1/2 cups of wild rice
1-2 lemons, juiced (depending on how juicy your lemons are and how
tart you like your dressing)
1 small dollop of dijon mustard (3/4 of a teaspoon-ish)
Salt and pepper
Touch of maple syrup, agave, or raw honey
4-5 tablespoons of sunflower oil (or olive, if that’s what you’ve got)

Directions
1. Cook the wild rice, with a ratio of 1:3 rice:water. You might
want to do this the night before, it takes a while. Let it cool.
2. Roast your hazelnuts for a few minutes under the broiler or in a
pan. Once they darken, you can remove them and roll them around in
your hands if you want and the skins will rub right off. Not
necessary, but its up to you. This is especially good if you are a
notorious forgetter of nuts under the broiler, like I am. If you’ve
all about the raw, you can skip this step…but you’re missing out on
a little flavour.
3. Crush the nuts. If you’ve got a mortar, bust it out. If not, put
the nuts in a sandwich (or vegetable) bag, place it on a cutting
board, and hit it with a knife handle until you get the right
consistency. You are going for pumpkin-seed sized pieces. Stop or
you’ll get to flour.
4. Toss the salad ingredients together. Enjoy the colour combo.
5. Whisk your lemon juice with the mustard until frothy. Add your
sweetener. Your goal is to take the edge off, here, so be careful and
just use a touch. You don’t want to taste it in the final product.
6. Season to taste. Add the oil and whisk some more. Sunflower is
preferable because it is lighter and has a more muted flavour. Since
the flavours in this are subtle, you want to let them shine as much as
possible. But olive works, so don’t worry about it if that’s what’s
on hand.
7. Toss it all up! It’s a good idea to let this sit for a few
minutes before you eat it. The time to pour yourself a drink or get a
good book to read in the sun while you eat…

Enjoy! And thanks for having me.

Variations: if you’ve been to the market and have found some fresh
sweet green peas, you might try tossing them in here. If you do, I
recommend skipping the sage and opting for fresh mint instead. Fresh
mint and fresh peas is a marriage made in heaven…

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