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

bubbledancer 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.