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Spring Salad so good it deserves its own post

I had some guests over last weekend and made an "ode to early spring" dinner that combined the best of late winter and early spring produce (I love these transition periods!). For the salad course, I made a chilled salad plated w/ blanched asparagus, sliced orange rounds, ripe avocado, thinly-sliced French radish and an orange-shallot vinaigrette. Nothing revolutionary, just a glorious combo that showcased fine farmer's market goodies.

Photo of platter:

I prepped most ingredients a couple hours before serving and made sure to chill everything, including the serving platter. The avocado was sliced about an hour before they arrived and kept perky w/ just a little squirt of lemon juice. I made the vinaigrette in a blender and included fresh OJ, champagne vinegar, half a shallot, EVOO, S&P, and half pinch of sugar. Drizzled some over the platter right before serving and garnished w/ some mint chiffonade. Additional vinaigrette was passed at the table.

One of my favorite salads of all time (due in large part to perhaps the best asparagus I've ever had) and very spring-y too. Other particularly spring-like salads that deserve recognition?

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  1. I've got nothing to contribute to the discussion, but absolutely had to tell you how beautiful and inspiring your salad looks. I can't wait to have an occasion to try to replicate it!

    1. That photo is amamzing, and I'm coming over for dinner! LOL. Anyway, don't know how spring-y it is, but mescilin (sp?) greens, halfed seedless red grapes, fine sliced scallions, sprinking of toasted walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola, topped with a sprinkling of salt, balsalmic vinegar, and evoo. Sorry, no picture

      1. Wow, this is a beautiful salad. I have everything but the radishes and avocado and may actually go back out for them after seeing your post. The photo clinched it for me. :)

        Thanks for this recipe, I'm sure we'll love it!

        1. Considering that we here in the northeastern U.S. have been plunged back into winter weather, it's a little hard to think about spring salads. I'm temporarily back to making hot, hearty soups! :-(

          Your salad looks scrumptious! Supermarkets near my house are now getting their first shipments of California asparagus, and the ones I've bought so far have been fabulous. I also adore avocados. So, when things warm up just a bit, I'm going to make that salad.

          Btw, when I saw your subject line, I thought you might be referring to what I've always called a "spring salad." It consists of chopped cucumbers, green and red peppers, radishes, and either scallions or red onions, mixed with cottage cheese and sour cream.

          2 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            We always called your salad a "farmer's salad". I love it for lunch on Saturday afternoons.

            1. re: RGR

              That's the spring salad we had growing up. My mom would make that on a "dairy" night.

            2. Very nice!
              It still being winter in upstate NY, for Passover I made one of my favorite salads -- call it Winter Salad:
              sliced roasted chiogga beets aside mesclun mixed w/ shallot vinaigrette, topped w/ crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts.

              1. I served this today and everyone really enjoyed it. So fresh tasting and such nice flavors. It was just delicious and oh, so pretty. Will definitely make this beauty again!
                Thank you, thank you for posting this recipe and picture.

                1 Reply
                1. re: xena

                  Thanks for the follow up and for everyone's nice comments and suggestions. Glad that you enjoyed it. Nice when something tastes and looks good AND is good for you!

                2. That's beautiful!
                  I'm making tabbouleh tonight, I don't know that it has a season.

                  1. That is one heckuva great looking salad... nice presentation... I am curious where you live, though. Where can you get local avocados and oranges at your farmers market? I was able to get the first of this year's asparagus crop at my Charlotte, NC, farmers market this past weekend, and it was some of the best I've had. Also found some beautiful carrots, "green garlic," and lots of greens. Are you in California? Thanks for the inspiration...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mdatwood13

                      Thanks, I live in Santa Cruz, CA. You can click on anyone's name and see their location in their profile if they completed it. There's alot of ag. land in Watsonville and Salinas to the south. I'm lucky that the farmers market prices aren't much higher (and sometimes even lower) than those at standard supermarkets.

                    2. lovely and delicious-I might add some grapes to this also

                      1. Yea Carb Lover!
                        I made a variation of your glorious spring salad last eve (it being late to be spring in upstate NY) with fresh local blanched asparagus, sliced orange and radishes, and chilled everything including plates as you suggest.
                        I made a vinaigrette w/ white wine vinegar, shallots, a little lemon juice, orange zest (instead of juice), olive oil, honey, S&P.
                        I mixed up mesclun w/ the vinaigrette, put on (chilled) serving platter topping w/ composed vegetables & orange slices, slicing the avocados at the last minute and dribbled some vinaigrette on top.
                        Beautiful ode to spring, indeed and guests raved.
                        thanks for the inspiration!