Patricia Wells's Crunchy Asparagus and Snow Pea Salad Recipe
This salad was created on the fly with ingredients that cookbook author Patricia Wells found at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Filled with crunchy snow peas, almonds, pancetta, and asparagus and tossed with a light, lemony dressing, it’s a perfect lazy lunch when served with a glass of rosé and some crusty bread.
What to buy: Patricia uses a lemon-infused olive oil here, but if you can’t find a similar product, just use regular extra-virgin olive oil and add the finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon.
- 1 pound green or purple asparagus, stems trimmed
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon-infused extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 8 thin slices pancetta (about 1 1/2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 ounces snow peas, sliced on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 ounces semifirm cheese, such as Gouda, Comté, or young Asiago, medium dice (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons)
- 3 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted whole almonds, coarsely chopped
- Crumbled vegetable chips, such as kale chips or carrot chips, for garnish
- Place the asparagus in a large frying pan, add the water, drizzle with the oil, and season with salt. Bring to a lively simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan with a tightfitting lid, and simmer until the asparagus is just knife-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Using tongs, remove the asparagus to a cutting board and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, place the pancetta in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 8 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.
- Cut the cooled asparagus into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the pancetta, snow peas, cheese, and lemon zest and toss gently to combine.
- Place the half-and-half and measured lemon juice in a small, nonreactive bowl, season with salt, and whisk to combine. Add to the salad and toss gently to combine. Taste and season with additional salt or lemon juice as needed. Top with the almonds and sprinkle with the vegetable chips. Serve immediately.