by Kelly Brisson
Spring is in the air. Though Mother Nature thought it humorous to tease us into believing it was here two months early, the joke is truly on her – spring hasn’t strayed far from Ottawa and I think we can safely say the mild weather is here to stay.
As if to prove my spring predictions, when I walked through the doors of my produce spot, I immediately laid eyes upon a beautiful, bright crimson bunch of radishes. And not far from them, bundles of perfectly tender, pencil-width asparagus. If that’s not a sign that spring has returned to us, I’m not sure what is. I do, however, know that I plan to stuff my face with as many radishes and asparagus as their short growing season will allow for.
I wanted to really respect the gentle flavours of these vegetables, so I threw together a quick, lightly sauteed dish that was packed with colour, texture, nutrition and yes, most importantly, flavour!
The shrimp is optional but rounds out the dish and really makes it a filling meal.
Shrimp, Radish and Asparagus Salad
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
The directions in this recipe are quite vague so feel free to be creative and make it your own. The lemony pea-pod puree is optional, but it’s a brilliantly fresh, bright green flavour that really compliments the salad. It’s also a great way to be less wasteful.
small bundle asparagus, preferably tender, thin spears
5-8 radishes, cleaned and sliced thin
2 large handfuls sugar snap peas
10-15 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
zest and juice from ½ lemon
1/3 cup dry white wine
small handful Thai basil, chopped
small handful cilantro, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
freshly grated Parmesan
lemon and sugar pea pod puree (recipe to follow, optional)
Snap off the woody end of the asparagus and slice each spear into 1 ½” pieces. Slice the sugar snap peas down the seam, and remove the peas into a small bowl.
Sprinkle the shrimp with a little salt and pepper. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan. When the oil starts to ripple, add the shrimp. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side until cooked through. Toss in the radishes, asparagus, hulled peas, lemon zest and juice. Pour in the white white and turn the heat up a touch. Cook until vegetables are softened but still have a bit of crunch to them, and the white wine is reduced. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Spoon into bowls and top with chopped cilantro, basil, lemony pea pod puree and parmesan cheese.
Lemony Pea Pod Pureé
zest of remaining half of lemon
generous squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 ½ cups leftover pea pods
Blend ingredients in a food processor, bullet or blender until smooth. Taste and add more lemon or salt if needed.