Asparagus, Spinach and Fennel Salad with Citrus Dressing

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 23,289
    Chef Amy Riolo with Harris Teeter shows your how to make an Asparagus, Spinach and Fennel Salad with citrus dressing.

    Hi! I am Chef Amy Riolo with Harris Teeter and today we are making an Asparagus, Spinach and Fennel Salad with citrus dressing. The ingredients which we will need are one bunch asparagus trimmed, 8 ounces of baby spinach, one large ripe tomato, one fennel bulb trimmed and sliced, one large orange juiced, one tablespoon red wine vinegar, one quarter tea spoon Kosher Salt, one quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

    The first thing that we need to do is take our asparagus and boil it for a few moments just to make it soft and what I have done is I have taken the asparagus and I have bent them and just kind of let them break where they naturally break, then I discarded the bottom portion and what I keep is the top portion and then I have kind of cut those into two to make them into a little bit easier to manage pieces.

    So I am going to add these into our boiling water and we are just going to cook these for a few moments just until they get tender. They don't need to be completely soft because they are going to be in a salad. But we do want to take a little bit of that rawness away from them. A little bit of salt and turn our heat up and that will be done in just a few moments.

    Now over in this area, I have my ingredients for my citrus dressing and the first thing that I start with is our orange juice and this is freshly squeezed orange juice, you could use lemon juice or lime if you prefer, but I think orange goes really well with the fennel. So we have got our orange juice and then I am going to add in some red wine vinegar. You could also use balsamic vinegar or any kind that you like and it is really good whenever you are making a dressing always start with your acids.

    Whatever acid you are using whether it is citrus juice or vinegar, go ahead and get those mixed up really well first and then you want to whisk in your oil and whatever you are using it is just okay, just as long as you whisk it in very slowly like this. This is kind of classic citrus vinaigrette type of recipe.

    So once you have got them incorporated I am just going to whisk a little bit more so that they become completely homogenized. So now that they are all mixed together I am going to add a little bit of salt and a little bit of pepper right in here, just stir those up together. And we will set that aside for a moment. And in the mean time here I have my spinach that's washed and ready to go. I am going to use that as a bed for the salad, you could use mixed filled creams if you didn't want to use spinach or you can use a rugola; whatever kind of green, nice leafy green that you like tastes really good in the salad.

    And now let's talk about our fennel. A lot of people are intimidated when they see this vegetable. But it is really, really a wonderful vegetable, you are going to like it. It has a lot of Vitamin C, a lot of Potassium and has a great taste. Now for the sake of cooking usually what you need when you use the fennel that it comes with a stalk which is this part that looks like celery but it is tougher and these which are called the fronds.

    But only we for cooking all we need and what we care about, is really this bulb portion. So you just cut it right here and then you core it like you would an apple and then slice it very thinly and that's how we got these slices over here.

    Now sometimes fennel is called sweet anise, sometimes it is called fennel, sometimes it is called wild fennel, in Italian they call it Finocchio and sometimes here in the United States they market it with that name. But it is pretty much all the same variety; it just comes in different sizes. So don't be too worried or conscious about the different kinds of fennel as long as you are going fennel I think you will really enjoy it. So in this recipe we are going to use it along with our spinach and I am just going to go ahead and put it right on top and it is very nice, you can just crunch on it and shoo it. People have been eating it in the Mediterranean since ancient times because it is really delicious and it is very good for you. It is also a digestive aid, so it is really nice if you have it after your meal. So now it looks like asparagus is done and what I am going to do is drain this. You want to make sure you rinse them really well with cold water and test them until they are cold with a touch. When they are cold that's when you want to add them to your salad. You could also let them rest in a cold ice-bath, but if you are dealing with the small quantity like this, just as easy to go ahead and rinse with a really cold water and then add them to your salad.

    So we can go ahead and pour these now right over our salad of spinach and fennel. We can go ahead and whisk our dressing together one more time. Then we can just pour it right over the top. Now that we have finished adding our citrus dressing, we could go ahead and add our tomatoes and this is just one large tomato that I have cut into eights. We can go ahead and add that right on top for some color. If tomatoes aren't in season or you don't want to use tomatoes you could also cut up an orange which taste really delicious in this recipe. Then we will go ahead and toss this altogether and serve it immediately. If you want to make this in advance then you can go ahead and put everything together and just leave the dressing separate and toss it with the dressing at the very end. So there you have asparagus, fennel and spinach salad with citrus dressing.