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Spring Asparagus and Leek Pasta Salad

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Honey or Lyle's Golden Syrup and a light sweetness to the salad dressing - the latter is a light treacle that is slightly more caramel in flavor when compared to honey.

Asparagus is one of the earliest spring vegetables - one of the earliest you can harvest at home or find at farmers’ markets.  This fresh, spring pasta salad is excellent for entertaining and even guests who don't love asparagus will enjoy this refreshing and lightly creamy dish.

1 lb asparagus
2 leeks
1 tbs butter
1 lb pasta
1 lb frozen baby peas
¼ to ½ cup minced chives (to taste)
1-2 tbs capers (to taste)

Snap off the woody end of the asparagus and steam or shallow poach until the asparagus is fork tender or can be pierced easily with a small pairing knife. Remove from heat and drain/rinse under cold water in a colander. Cut into 1-inch pieces

Prepare pasta in salted water.

Slice leeks 1/8-inch thick. Soak in a bowl of water, rinse and repeat to remove grit and to separate the leek slices into rings.  Heat the butter and sweat the leeks until tender and just becoming translucent. Drain in a colander, rinsing with cold water. Add to the asparagus.

As the pasta finishes, add the frozen peas to the asparagus and leeks (you can defrost them in the refrigerator overnight if desired). Mince the chives and add to the vegetables. Add the capers (we added more after the salad chilled overnight).

Salad Dressing:
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ cup mayonnaise (can use light)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp of honey (or Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the dressing by whisking the ingredients together and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Once the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with the vegetables and the dressing. Allow to chill for a few hours and then check the seasoning and adjust to your taste.

Serves 4-6.

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