Asparagus Wreath Salad Recipe
This asparagus salad is easy to make, but very sophisticated. It looks fantastic on the table or on a buffet table, particularly around Christmas time, too, as it resembles a wreath. The only work is in putting the black olives -- do that in advance if you want, or assign it to the local kitchen minion. It's really low-cal, too, thanks to the flavourful but smart dressing on it.
- Pit the black olives and chop in half; set aside.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and pepper. Taste and adjust; set aside.
- Wash and slice the tomatoes thinly; set aside.
- Break off hard ends of asparagus and discard or reserve for soup. Steam the asparagus spears for 6 to 10 minutes (or microwave in a little water for half that time), until just tender. Plunge into cold water to stop them cooking. When cooled, drain and cut into pieces about 2 inches (5 cm.)
- Get a nice serving platter or plate about 30 to 35 cm (12 to 14 inches) wide. Arrange around the edge of the platter the washed and dried rocket and spinach leaves. Make an inner ring with the tomato slices, leaving the centre of the platter still bare.
- Place the asparagus in the centre, top this in the centre with the black olives, then drizzle the dressing over the salad, covering as much as possible, and send to the table.
Best served with tongs. Optional garnishes: some crumbled blue cheese; few tablespoons of toasted pine nuts. 7 oz of black olives is about 200 g / 1 cup before pitting / 1 small tub. No need to be exact. Note that already pitted, sliced black olives in bottles or tins are actually green olives that have been treated to make them look black. The taste and texture is completely different; if you like it, feel free to use those.
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If you wish to use olive oil instead of the bottled fat-free Italian, use 6 tablespoons of olive oil.