Buttermilk and Asparagus Salad

Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

The fella’s gone on a fast leaving me to fend for myself meal wise.

I could be a real jerk and fill the house with the heady rich smells of  freshly delivered Wood fired Sausage and Ricotta Pizza from our local shop.  Or perhaps some creamy Butter Chicken and Daal with fresh crispy Naan.  Perhaps a huge West Indian Roti filled to the breaking point with Roasted Goat, potato and chickpea…

Or I can head to the market and load up on a fridge full of fresh fruit, seasonal veggie  and get my cook on; indulging in all the flavours I like in a loving show of support.

Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

Buttermilk and Asparagus Salad

I used barley in my dinner, but you can substitute any nice chewy grain like brown rice, quinoa or couscous.  While you’re at it try out  beans, chickpeas,  grits or even posole.
What you have in your cupboard that saves you a trip out to the store will always be the best  substitution right?

The buttermilk dressing is low in calories and packed with flavour
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup / 120 ml buttermilk (no buttermilk no worries!)
1/8 cup / 30 ml good-quality white wine vinegar (this time I substituted a crispy sharp white wine)
1/8 cup / 30 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into a size you like.  I always go rustic and leave my veg in the 1-2 inch range.
1 large handful of cooked barley groat (or your grain/bean of choice)
a big handful of chopped cilantro
a big handful of sprouts (I used broccoli sprouts this time, pea shoots would be amazing)
half a chopped up cucumber (or whatever other juicy firm veg you may have on hand)
half an avocado

To make the dressing, combine the garlic and salt on a cutting board. Mash the clove of garlic just smooshing is a little using the flat side of your knife.  DO NOT chop up that clove unless you love the taste of raw garlic and everyone around you knowing it.  Just gently breaking up the clove w some salt  will be more than enough flavour, trust me.   Place the broken clove and salt  in a  jar, then add the buttermilk and vinegar. Put a lid on and shake it up together, then gradually whisk in the olive oi with a fork before capping and shaking again. Let sit while you make the rest of the salad.

You can saute or steam the asparagus. If you need to cook your grains then it’s a win-win, either steam the asparagus above the boiling water n grains, or just throw them in for a short shot towards the end of the cooking.  No more than a minute or two cooking until the asparagus is just tender and bright in colour.  You want the green good stuff  to stay in the veg and not end up wasted in your water. In either case, drain, then transfer to a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, combine the asparagus, barley, cilantro, cucumber, avocado and sprouts in a large bowl. Coat generously with a splash of the buttermilk dressing, and toss well before serving. You’ll likely have a bit of leftover dressing which can be used on vegetables, noodles, salads, and grains.   If you are a diner of one like me this week, keep the dressing out of the mix just adding before each serving  and the salad will keep much longer.

Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

This salad is good on it’s own, but also pretty awesome as a vehicle for all sorts of toppings….

  • how about some  poached egg and shaved parm?
  • maybe a bit of  roasted  chicken tossed in MOJO?
  • some skillet fried spicy shrimp, red and orange pepper?
  • even a healthy lunch with almonds strawberries and goat cheese!

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 7 min – Cook time: 15 min for grains, 5 if using pre cooked grains

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