radish, asparagus & blueberry salad

My absolute favorite blogger, Joy the Baker, reminded me last week that inspiration matters, and that as a food blogger I should share what inspires me with my dear readers. So here goes: the tale of how a slow morning at work gave birth to the salad of my dreams.

In the beginning, there was a local, pesticide-free spring mix from Needle Lane Farms (in Tipton, Michigan):

As a produce stocker at People’s Food Co-op for over a year now, I’ve packaged this lovely spring mix countless times and have always admired it (who wouldn’t?). This past Saturday morning, I decided it was time to make the spring mix mine. I’ll admit I spent a good three hours of my workday dreaming up which salad accessories would be worthy of these greens. And I’ll also admit, I’m pretty pleased with the results.

radish, asparagus & blueberry salad
makes 2 large salads

a few big handfuls of spring mix
6-7 spears of asparagus
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
1 bunch of radishes, sliced into thin coins
blueberries
sunflower seeds
shredded parmesan cheese

buttermilk herb vinaigrette

1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano


Make the vinaigrette ahead of time and chill in the refrigerator for at least hour. Simply combine all the ingredients and whisk till well-blended. Depending on how creamy you like your dressing, add more or less buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. On a baking sheet, drizzle asparagus (washed and trimmed, of course) with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 or so minutes, or until desired roasted-ness. Once cool, slice into one-inch pieces on a diagonal (for the fanciness factor).

Note: you may want to toast the sunflower seeds. Once the asparagus is done, throw the seeds on the same pan and put back in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Be careful. You don’t want these babies to burn!

Slice the radishes. Wash the blueberries. Yada yada.

Wash the spring mix and divide between two plates. Add the asparagus, radish coins, blueberries, and sunflower seeds, and sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle with buttermilk herb vinaigrette. Dive in. Be inspired.

I shared this pretty salad with Anthony who claimed–despite disliking radish, asparagus, and blueberries–to thoroughly enjoy it. As suspicious as this sounds, I think he told the truth (he cleaned the plate!). Moral of the story: find a loved one, make a loved salad. Maybe it won’t look like mine; most likely it won’t. But it will mark a moment that is special and important and delicious, and that is worth getting inspired for.

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