Pea Shoot, Asparagus, and Blood Orange Salad
Esalen Team
March 22, 2021
Category:
Food

It’s hard to go wrong with flavor combinations when you pair things that come into season together, like early spring’s pea shoots and asparagus bolstered with the last of winter’s citrus. This salad is spring green on a plate, with a delightful mix of flavors and textures — acidic citrus, bright mint, sweet peas, crunchy nuts, tender asparagus — that elevate it beyond an everyday salad.

The fruits and vegetables require a bit of prep; sink into the meditative rhythms of peeling and chopping for some personal time, and then celebrate your labors by sharing the bounty with loved ones. Add some toasted crusty bread smeared with goat cheese and sprinkled with more chopped nuts or a piece of pan-seared fish with additional citrus squeezed over it to round out your meal.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Michelle Weber

Serves four as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 3 blood oranges (regular oranges are also fine, as are grapefruits!)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • A large bowl of ice
  • 4 large handfuls of pea shoots
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 c. toasted, chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. champagne vinegar
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Trim the oranges: Cut the fruit into supremes. Squeeze the orange rinds and remaining flesh over a bowl, aiming to get 2 tablespoons of juice. Waste not want not!
  2. Trim the asparagus: Trim off the tough ends by holding one end of a stalk in each hand and bending it until it snaps, then trimming all the other stalks to the same length. Then, use a vegetable peeler to shave the stalks into ribbons. 
  3. Blanch the asparagus: Put a pot of water on to boil and get your bowl of ice. When the water comes to a boil, add tablespoon of salt, then add the asparagus. Cook the asparagus for 10 seconds, then remove and plunge it right into the ice to stop the cooking. Drain completely.
  4. Make the dressing: Stir the reserved blood orange juice and vinegar together with a pinch of salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking.
  5. Chop or tear up the mint leaves (always cut up mint at the last minute to ensure it doesn’t brown and wilt before you need it.)
  6. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the pea shoots with the asparagus, orange supremes, mint, and hazelnuts, then toss the whole salad with the dressing — start with a few tablespoons, and add more to taste.

Serve immediately.