It’s been a hot and humid week here in the Baltimore area and I have been concentrating on summer recipes. Even though my tomato plants seem to like this heat and humidity I don’t! When the weather is like this I don’t want to be in the kitchen for very long.
One of the things most people forget about in summer is the crockpot. In summer I love to use my crockpot so I’m not in the kitchen come dinner time except to serve it up. Think about it. You spend may five to ten minutes in the kitchen in the morning putting together a crockpot dinner and eight hours later there it is ready to serve. The ultimate in easy healthy home cooking.
I have also been grilling three to four times per week to get out of the kitchen. This keep the cooking heat outside instead of inside. I’ve mostly been cooking up Alaskan salmon, and lots of grilled veggies too. Since it is about the end of asparagus season I have eaten it a bit more than usual. I’ve grilled it, stir fried it and eaten it on salads delighting in that special taste unique to the green spear from the garden.
Today I decided to create something different with asparagus using fresh herbs from my garden. I bought asparagus and bell peppers from the grocery store for a new salad recipe. Oregano is not just for pasta and Italian cooking. This year I have a lot of oregano. Fresh oregano is high in vitamin A and also contains calcium, but most importantly it tastes great.
Oregano is a member of the mint family and has that fresh mint taste like spearmint when fresh. I found a new kind of spicy oregano at my favorite farm back in May and decided to mix it with my Greek Oregano for this new salad. I thought that the blended oregano would pair well with asparagus and bell peppers with an oil and apple cider vinegar dressing. It’s a fairly quick and easy recipe that anyone can make. Check it out and stay cool.
As always I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Asparagus and Bell Pepper Salad with Fresh Oregano
1 pound fresh trimmed asparagus , see note
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 1/2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup fresh oregano, or 3 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1/4 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, or Spectrum brand
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a 2 1/2 to 3 quart pot bring water, and salt to a boil. While water is heating up trim asparagus.
After trimming the tough parts of the asparagus rinse and set aside.
When water is boiling add asparagus and cook thin asparagus for thirty seconds, thick asparagus for one minute. Drain and rinse well in cold water. You may need ice water if your tap water is not very cold as you want to stop the cooking process quickly. See note.
Wash and dice bell peppers into 1/2 inch size.
Wash oregano if needed, and dry. Take about 1/4 of the oregano and slice in thin shreds. This will help distribute its flavor better.
Wash, dry and mince fresh chives and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and serve right away or chill for one or more hours.
One pound of asparagus will not yield one pound trimmed. It takes about a pound and a half, but asparagus is usually sold by the pound. No worries, just buy two pounds and use the extra for steamed asparagus at dinner or cook in an omelet for breakfast.
I use a bowl of ice water to submerge the hot asparagus in. First I drain off the hot water then dump the asparagus in the big bowl of ice water, but remove any unmelted ice cubes before submerging the asparagus. Otherwise they tend to melt and dilute the dressing later.