It’s now Springtime! You know what that mean’s right? Most people might say “spring cleaning”. Well, I see it a different way! I say it’s time to start breaking out bright flavors and light textures in your food.
Spring time is a season of rebirth and rejuvenation. New life is emerging from every corner, and you can definitely see (and taste) it in the food available during this time of year. Flavors are delicate and fresh, and we should all take advantage of the amazing food that thrives in the Spring.
Speaking of thriving, Let’s talk asparagus! One of the great things about Spring is that it’s the asparagus season. And you can definitely taste it in a stalk of asparagus. The flavor profile of asparagus is sweet, juicy, and grassy. Which makes sense, because asparagus is basically grass. The perfect embodiment of Spring. As delicious as it is, asparagus is really easy to grow. Plant it once, and it will grow back every year. What’s more, the longer hours of sunlight and warmth during spring time is like a magical growth potion for asparagus. If you cut it in the morning, it will be practically grown back by the next day. So what does all this mean for you? It means that farmers have a lot of it, and will be trying to sell it as fast as possible. Which is good news because you will be able to buy your fill for dirt cheap. I don’t know about you, but that’s all the motivation I need!
That begs the question, “how do I eat all this asparagus?” Luckily Stonewall Kitchen has us all covered. They make the perfect Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette for this springtime celebration. What’s great is that their vinaigrette tastes great, saves time, and can be used in a lot of different ways. What ways? The first thing that comes to mind is salad. But the immediate next thought is “chicken” and “marinade!” and “grill”…I guess that’ three thoughts. But is perfect, because nothing feels better while enjoying all this new sunshine than firing up the grill.
So let’s add up this equation. One part fresh grassy asparagus + one part light tangy lemon Dijon vinaigrette + one part grilled marinated chicken = drooling mouths. Now that’s a math problem I would like to solve!
Springtime Lemon Dijon Chicken And Asparagus Salad:
2 bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts
1 package arugula
3 bunches of asparagus
1/2 cup toasted, chopped almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
Marinade the chicken breasts with one bottle of the dressing in a large bowl. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let the Chicken marinade for at least two hours…over night will give you the best results though! Meanwhile, with two of the bunches of asparagus use a peeler to make ribbons. Starting from the base of the stalk and holding it with your thumb and forefinger, use the peeler to make ribbons out of as much as you can. There will be a little you won’t be able to peel, just save that for soup, or sautéing and serving with eggs or something! put the ribbons in a container of water and refrigerate. The water and cold will make the asparagus nice and crispy. You should do this in advance just like the marinade. The asparagus will need a little time to crisp.
When you are ready to grill, remove the chicken from the fridge and marinade, and let it come to room temperature while the grill is heating. Salt the skin side with a liberal amount of salt. If you are using charcoal to grill, once it is white hot move the bulk of it to one side, but leave some on the other side to make a slightly less hot space to gently finish cooking the chicken. If you are using a gas grill, simply turn one side to medium and one side to high. Also while the grill is heating, cut off one inch of the bottom of the asparagus stalks. Discard the bottoms, and toss the remaining pieces with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Now with the chicken ready, the asparagus ready, and the grill ready, you can get to grilling! Wipe down the grate of the grill with a little oil and place the chicken skin side down. DOn’t poke at it or try to move it. The chicken will release once it is ready to do so. Once you see a brown crust starting to form, gently try to release the chicken from the grill. If it doesn’t want to move, give it a little more time. Once it is ready, flip it over and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Cook for approximately the same amount of time on the other side. Now move it to the cooler side, cover with foil, and let it finish cooking. Meanwhile, with a lot of heat left on the hot side, place the asparagus down perpendicularly ( don’t place it facing the same way as the grill grate otherwise it will fall in the gap!). It cooks really quickly, so as soon as you see some color on one side, roll it over and cook on the other side. The asparagus should take no more than three minutes to grill. The texture once its done should still have a little firmness and a pleasant bite to it. Don’t cook it to mush! remove the asparagus and check on the chicken. Once the chicken is done, remove it and let it rest for a few minutes.
With the grilling done, drain the asparagus ribbons from the water and toss with the arugula. Cut the grilled asparagus into 1 to 2 inch pieces, and slice the chicken off the bone. In a large bowl, gently toss the asparagus ribbons and arugula with a couple pinches of salt, fresh ground pepper, and the vinaigrette. Serve in either individual bowls or one large bowl and top with the grilled asparagus, the grilled chicken, and the chopped almonds. Now eat and enjoy!