One year ago today I landed at Pearson International Airport, fresh from an exciting, relaxing, much desired trip to Paris with my husband. It was truly the honeymoon we hadn't yet shared and despite missing my boys terribly, I loved every minute of the time we were away. Upon our return I asked my husband how soon we could go back (just so I had an idea of how long of a wait it would be) and he told me we would attempt to go once every five years. So, I'm happy to report that now that a year has passed, there are only four more to go until we trek across the Atlantic back to the land I love so.
I think when most people head to France they look forward to viewing some of the historic sights the country has to offer. I travel a bit differently. My mind was on culinary boutiques, city markets, boulangeries and cheese shops. Mona Lisa who? I needed to find the best macaroon I could find..and in only four days time. So, as we perused the shops and markets in search of good food, I couldn't help but notice the most amazing asparagus I had ever laid eyes on. We weren't privy to great asparagus in Ontario yet but in Paris it was available in abundance...thin and thick stalks, white and green varieties and so inexpensive a family could exist off it for a few euros each week (at least that's how it seemed).
When I returned home and began making more seasonally Spring meals, asparagus was all I could think of and last year we ate in many delicious ways. I'm happy to report that even my children enjoyed it, especially when wrapped in bacon and roasted in the oven. This year, for Easter dinner, my thoughts turned back to that luscious asparagus from last April and I knew I needed to create a dish showcasing this delectable veg . So I came up with the above salad using my favourite French flavours such as asparagus, lemon, lavender, thyme and French feta.
My family loves this salad. There were no complaints about the vegetables embedded in the orzo (red pepper, asparagus and peas), and that is always a great sign of success as far as I'm concerned. We also took a loosey-goosey approach to the recipe, and the few extra glugs of olive oil added by my youngest only made the dish taste better. Made in large quantities, the leftovers work great for weekday lunches, and only taste better the longer they are left in the fridge. Did I mention there are only four more years to go until Paris and I are reunited? I can't wait, but in the meantime this salad will satisfy my taste buds looking for that fresh French food they adore.
Asparagus Spring Salad, my recipe
*This recipe doesn't have a lot of quantities as it's based purely on individual taste. Add as much olive oil and seasonings as you desire.
2 cups orzo, cooked
1 bunch asparagus, stems of the stalk removed
1 red onion, slided and de-seeded
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup French feta cheese
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
~ Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus and red pepper on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until crisp, approx. 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When cool slice into small pieces, or to whatever size desired
~ In a large mixing bowl add the orzo, peas, asparagus, red pepper and feta. Mix well to combine. Add some olive oil (as much as you desire), 1 tsp of lemon juice, the zest of one lemon and as much thyme, lavender, salt and pepper as you like.
~ Mix well and place in the fridge until you are ready to eat. Will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.