The Washington Post – This salad captures the vibrancy of spring, bringing together the quintessential vegetables of the season – asparagus, peas, scallions and carrots – in a way that lets them shine simply but with an unexpected spark to light up your taste buds and keep you wanting more.
That culinary exclamation point comes by way of a marinade – a tangy dressing of olive oil, vinegar and thyme that infuse the carrot and scallions with a quick pickle-like result – a bright, herb-flecked pucker.
Slicing the carrot into wide, thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler and quartering the scallion pieces lengthwise gives the vegetables lots of surface area, so they quickly absorb the flavors in the marinade.
The 30-minute window needed for pickling is just the right amount of time to prep the other vegetables, which are simply blanched. I find it easiest to blanch asparagus in a large, deep skillet:
Just a couple of minutes in boiling water does the trick, before the asparagus is plunged into an ice bath to stop the cooking, locking in its colour and chill. The peas (if fresh) then get a turn in the same the boiling water and ice bath.
When the bright, tender green vegetables are tossed with the crisp, marinated ribbons of carrot and scallion, along with a couple more tablespoons of the marinade, they come together as though they were meant for each other, for a colorful side salad that really pops.
MARINATED SPRING VEGETABLE SALAD
Active: 30 minutes | Total: 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating time
One medium carrot (about five ounces), peeled
One bunch scallions, trimmed, white and light green parts only
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
One teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried, plus more for optional garnish
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One bunch asparagus (about six), woody ends trimmed
One cup fresh peas or, if frozen, thawed
Using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrot into ribbons, pressing the carrot against a cutting board for leverage to get the widest ribbons possible.
If the ribbons are very long, cut them into bite-size pieces, two to three inches long. (You should get about one cup.) Halve the scallions lengthwise, then cut them across into one-inch long pieces. In a medium bowl, toss the carrot and scallions together. (The scallion pieces will separate naturally as you toss. You can coax them apart if you want, or allow some pieces to stay together.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the carrots and scallions and toss to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Fill a large, deep skillet about halfway with water and bring to a boil.
Place the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until firm-tender but still bright green, one to two minutes, depending on the thickness. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath (keep the water in the skillet boiling) and chill completely, then transfer the asparagus to a cutting board and cut on the bias into one-inch pieces. Transfer the asparagus to a medium bowl.
If using fresh peas, add them to the boiling water and cook until are firm-tender, one to two minutes, then drain and transfer to the ice bath. (Add more ice if it has melted.) Drain.
Transfer the peas to the bowl with the asparagus.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots and scallions to the bowl with the asparagus and peas. Add two tablespoons of the marinade to the salad and toss to combine. Taste and season with additional salt, if needed; garnish with thyme, if using, and serve.