I recently decided that I need to pay as much attention to creating awesome side dishes as I do to creating great main dish and single dish recipes. While there is definitely something wonderful about a side of spring greens simply dressed in balsamic vinegar and oil or steamed fresh broccoli seasoned with salt and pepper, a little creativity can help elevate the entire meal by pairing something unique with that already tasty main dish. Take, for example, the crab souffle Ruth and I made a few weeks ago. Sure a quick spring green salad with shallots and balsamic vinegar would have been nice with the dish. But, Ruth and I aren’t the type of people who just want nice; especially not when we are actually trying our first souffle – no we want spectacular.** So we tried our hand at endive and shaved asparagus salad with a homemade grapefruit dressing. The light tangy salad was the perfect compliment to the richness of a crab souffle and would also be a nice alternative to traditional coleslaw during the spring and summer barbecuing season.
** Even our dessert that evening was a little more special than usual, since Ruth made homemade lava cakes. Yea, we ate like queens that night.
Endive & Shaved Asparagus Salad
Serves 2 as a side
1 head of endive
12 medium/large stalks of asparagus (approximate)
1 large shallot
1 large white grapefruit
¼ -½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
1) Cut endive in quarters and then thinly slice it so the ribbons of endive are between ¼ -½ in width.
2) Remove the tough bottoms and tasty tops from the asparagus stalks, reserving the tops for another dish, such as an omelet. Using a vegetable peeler, create ribbons of asparagus. You will want enough asparagus so that the salad is roughly half endive and half asparagus. Place in a medium sized bowl with a lid with the endive.
3) Thinly slice and separate the rings of the shallot. Toss with the asparagus and endive.
4) In a medium to large measuring cup squeeze the grapefruit so you have about 1 ½ cups of juice. Whisk in Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat.
5) Place covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least one hour, stirring once or twice to make sure all of the vegetables get a chance to marinate in the dressing.
6) Serve as a light, tasty side dish at a party or with a rich dish like the souffle.