Asparagus and White Bean Salad

asparagusI love asparagus. For about 3 weeks in the spring. The rest of the year, I’m happy to anticipate it, but not eat it. Just like the seasons intended. I’ve worked with people that think of asparagus as another year round vegetable – a convenient steamable, roastable, crowd-pleasing vegetable that looks great on a platter. But really, do we need to have it all year long?

When I was a kid, there were always about 2 weeks of too much asparagus. It’s always awesome when it’s first ready because it’s one of the earliest vegetables (i.e. not leafy greens)…but then once you’ve had it for 10 out of 14 meals, you’re about ready for something else.

I’m still excited about asparagus because I had it for the first time yesterday. I just happened to have some small white beans cooked off in the fridge, and threw them together as a whim and holy crap! I started soaking some more beans today because I took the salad to a BBQ and didn’t get to eat enough of it…

I happened to have some cotija cheese in the fridge – it’s a sort of hard, salty fresh cheese – like if feta & mozzarella had a love child. It was great in this salad, but you could omit it and it would still be delish. The mint & lemon, however, are totally necessary. Somehow it makes everything taste a little bit more like spring.

 

Asparagus & White Bean Salad

  • 1 bunch asparagus cut in pieces that aren’t too big for the size of the beans
  • 2 C cooked white beans (canned would be fine, drained & rinsed)
  • 1/3 C cubed cotija cheese
  • Zest of one lemon, minced
  • Juice of half one lemon (more if you like)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/4 C parsley, chopped
  • 2 T mint, chopped
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Boil some water to blanch the asparagus. Salt the water so that the asparagus comes out tasty. Throw the asparagus in there, and cook just so that the raw flavor goes away – just keep fishing them out and tasting them. Try to keep them bright green and crunchy, though. Usually this happens before the water comes back to an enthusiastic boil. Drain and cool the asparagus.

Toss everything in a bowl & adjust the seasoning if necessary.

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