Spring is an exciting time. My peony has grown about a foot in the past week, and I’m eagerly watching the buds for the first sign of blooms. Eric and I have been planning our garden, and Clara has asked nearly every day when we’ll get to have orange “matoes” (that’s Sungold tomatoes) again. She’s excitedly pointed out every tree in our neighborhood that’s bloomed with flowers, and not a day goes by she doesn’t ask to wear a dress and play outside.
You’d think warmer weather and longer days would mean more posting here, but this time of year has the opposite effect on me. I’d rather be playing outside or going on a post-dinner walk than trying to photograph dinner. I love sharing recipes and stories with all of you, but I’m so fed up with the inauthenticity that exists on the internet, especially on blogs, and that has also contributed to it being quiet here. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to miss out on a driveway picnic or cloud-gazing with Clara to come in and write. Know what I mean? I’m not going anywhere; I just felt the need to explain what’s been going on behind the scenes.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this salad. It’s full of ingredients I love, is a wonderful springtime side and also works just as well as an easy lunch. It’s fresh and bright, and we couldn’t get enough of it. I made it as a side to a lemony chicken dish, and we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next couple of days. This would be great for a cookout because it’s not laden in a creamy sauce (is it just me, or does anyone else get totally grossed out by those sitting in the sun for long periods of time?). Instead, it’s got a light dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. I also think it would be fantastic with peas instead of, or in addition to, the asparagus. You can also swap out the grains for your favorite kind, but I loved this combo of pearled couscous and nutty farro.
- YIELD: 6-8 as a side
1¼ cups pearled farro
1¼ cups pearl couscous
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the farro and couscous according to package directions. Once cooked, spread them on a large baking sheet lined with a nonstick mat and set aside to cool. Zest the lemons over the top of the grains.
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the asparagus for about 2 minutes, until just barely crisp-tender.
Whisk together the remaining ¼ cup of oil and juice from both lemons in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the cooled grains along with the asparagus, almonds and goat cheese in the bowl and toss to coat.