Some of us will swap Meatless Monday for a Fenway Frank on this Opening Day of baseball season – understandably so – but we can make it up later this week with a vibrant, refreshing Shaved Springtime Vegetable Salad. This crunchy melange, tossed in an orange and mint dressing, celebrates the season’s bounty in both raw and cooked forms. Go Sox!
1 small fennel bulb, stalks removed but a few fronds reserved for garnish
4 to 5 radishes
1 bunch asparagus, bottom 2-inches trimmed
½ cup frozen or fresh peas
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 teaspoon stone ground Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced spring onion or shallot
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Shave the fennel bulb on a very thin setting of a mandolin or Japanese benriner, being careful to use smooth strokes and not press too hard. I recommend you use a guard or a cloth towel to hold the bulb as protection from the very sharp blade. Place the shaved fennel into a bowl of ice water and set aside for later.
Shave the radishes on the same, thin mandolin setting and place them into a large bowl.
Hold the tip of an asparagus spear and use a vegetable peeler to shave thin ribbons from the stalk. Add the ribbons to the bowl of radish slices and continue shaving the rest of the spears. Enclose the tips of the asparagus in a wet paper towel and microwave them for 90 seconds on high. Alternatively, you can blanch the asparagus tips in salted, boiling water, then shock them in a bowl of ice water.
Drain the fennel slices and add them to the bowl with the shaved asparagus, the asparagus spear tips, and radish. Add in the peas and minced chives and toss until the vegetables are combined.
In a medium bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the stone ground Dijon mustard, minced onion, orange juice, and white wine vinegar. Very slowly, drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly. Season the dressing with the minced mint, salt and black pepper. Pour this dressing over the shaved salad and toss until all ingredients are well coated. Serve this salad chilled or at room temperature with a few fennel fronds as garnish.