BY APRIL AMIEL, RDN
Yay, it’s finally Springtime! The yearly harvest has officially kicked off in Colorado, and there’s no better time to reap the nutritional benefits of our local bounty. And with life picking up pace just a little bit, it helps to have something easy to throw together for dinner. This dish has something for everyone (and by that, I mean I serve it disassembled, sans dressing, for the picky small person in my house), and you can customize it by putting any seasonal veggies that look good or that you have on hand. It’s the dressing and the toasty pita that make this a hit, so don’t skimp on those. The sumac in the dressing is a spice that dates back to the Roman empire and is used widely in Middle Eastern cuisine. If it proves hard to come by, you can substitute an equal amount of finely grated lemon zest.
4 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/8 tsp ground sumac
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbsp olive oil
2 (6-inch) pitas, roughly torn into pieces
8 oz asparagus, woody stems discarded and sliced into 1-inch pieces
8 oz green peas (fresh shelled if you can find them, but frozen ok, too)
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped Persian or English cucumber
1/2 cup diced radishes
1/4 cup each chopped fresh parsley, mint and arugula
1/4 minced Vidalia onion
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare dressing by whisking first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, then gradually drizzle in oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.
To prepare salad, arrange the torn pita in a single layer on a large baking sheet; bake for about 7 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool. While the pita bakes, bring a small pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Add the peas and asparagus and blanch just until bright green (about 1-2 minutes). Drain and rinse well under cold, running water.
Combine the peas and asparagus with the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the salad dressing to recombine and add desired amount to salad, toss well to coat. TIP: Serve 10-15 minutes after tossing. This allows the pita to soak up a bit more dressing.