| This is a fun little salad or side dish. It's very basic in its ingredients, but has AMAZING flavors! When I first thought of the idea, I called it "Green Things Salad", in my mind. I'm not quite sure why, as a "Green Thing" to me is usually parsley or some other kind of herb, of which this DOES have some oregano, but it's not an overly herby salad. It's really just a well cooked blend of asparagus, green beans and artichoke hearts!|
Here's where the tricky part comes in ... the method of cutting the asparagus and beans. This is TOTALLY optional, but it DOES make a bit of a difference in the taste and texture of the recipe. Give it a shot if you've got an extra 10 minutes to kill.
The idea is to cut the beans and asparagus "on the bias". Imagine an asparagus stalk. Rather than cutting it STRAIGHT DOWN, turn the stalk 45 degrees and cut every 1/4-inch, or so. You'll wind up with little diamond shaped pieces of asparagus. Kinda fun! Now, imagine doing an even more exaggerated version of that! Turn it about 80 degrees, and cut about every 2 millimeters. This should result in long thin strips of asparagus! If you do the same thing with the green beans, you've got something thin, attractive, a bit different and something eager to be coated with a simple lemon-herb dressing!
However, before we do that, let's give it a quickie blanch and shock (boil in salted water, then plunge into ice water). This will allow it some level of crisp and flavorful vibrancy, but without it having that overwhelming RAW raw flavor.
Once they've chilled down, we'll add some capers, toasted pine nuts, a bit of chopped fresh oregano and ... marinated heartichokes!
SUCH a lovely little salad. Serve as a side, or even bring a big batch to your next pot luck!
Alternate Note: As I said, the cutting method is optional. If you were to snap the fibrous bottom 2 or 3 inches off of each spear, then blanch and shock the beans and spears, whole, you'll STILL have an quite tasty salad, but it'll be a bit more rustic and the dressing will coat a little less actual surface area, permeating the dish a little less. STILL an awesome salad, but ... just a bit different. I kept this vegan, but ... obviously, this would be delicious topped with some freshly crumbled bacon strips and shaved parmesan!