Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tomato, Basil and Asparagus Salad with Ricotta Salata

Awhile back, I found these beautiful golden sun-dried tomatoes at LifeThyme and have been dying to use them. When I opened the package, I found they were really moist, almost not completely sun-dried--a good thing that I had them in the fridge for the last few weeks. I had some basil and parsley to use up and picked up some great plum tomatoes on my way home. This turned out really nicely for a quick and easy meal.

I cooked some whole wheat rigatoni tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a ton of black pepper to eat with this. Will ate his with rosemary chicken.

If you have never used ricotta salata, don't let that deter you. It's a really mild sheep's cheese from Italy, a little dry and crumbly, and very light as far as cheeses go.

Tomato, Basil, and Asparagus Salad with Ricotta Salata

1 t finely minced garlic (or grated on the microplane--easiest way)
1 t dijon mustard
1 T honey
1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c white balsamic vinegar (dark is fine, too, but I like white on this salad)
sea salt and black pepper
1/2 c fruity extra -virgin olive oil

Combine all above ingredients in a small mixing bowl, except for olive oil. Once uniform, slowly whisk the oil in to emulsify. Set aside.

1 bundle of thin asparagus, sliced into 1 or 2 inch pieces (discarding the 2-3 inches off of the end)
4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
1 c moist sun-dried tomatoes(drain, if marinated, or soak in warm water then drain, if really dry)
1/2 c red onion, sliced into very thin half moons.
1/4 cup chopped parsley (opt. --you can just use a little more basil instead, if you want)
1/2 cup basil, chopped or chiffonade
about 8 oz ricotta salata cheese

Clamshell pack of mixed baby greens or baby arugula

Boil a small pot of salted water. Boil asparagus for 1 minute, drain and cool immediately (you can rinse under cold water or shock them in a bowl of ice water for a minute or so)

In a mixing bowl, combine asparagus with remaining ingredients (except for baby greens). Add dressing from above, to taste, and toss. I prefer using about half of it.

Let rest for 15-20 minutes to let flavors blend before serving. Serve on greens, maybe pop a few olives in there. . .if you like that sort of thing.

The dressing keeps in the fridge for a few weeks and is good on simple salads or as a marinade.


Anonymous said... this recipe. I make a similar salad, but roast the asparagus along with red peppers and use potatoes instead of greens. Very colorful and delicious. Keep them coming. Patty

Catherine Barker Hoffman said...

That sounds good, too! I will keep 'em coming. Thanks for checking it out. . .I'm really slow on my entries this week. I must be in summer mode...aka lazy.