With spring here, it's time to start watching the grocer for seasonal -- and therefore tastier -- produce, such as asparagus, fennel, watercress, radishes and avocados. And once you find them, you might as well combine them into a seasonal salad.
For added fresh flavors, we use a medley of parsley, cilantro, dill and basil. Meanwhile, savory and salty smoked trout (sold in the refrigerator case near the smoked salmon) makes the salad substantial and satisfying without being heavy. Smoked mackerel also would be good.
Start to finish: 1 hour 45 minutes (30 minutes active).
> Marinated Spring Vegetable and Smoked Trout Salad
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1 head fennel, thinly sliced
1 bunch watercress, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large handful torn mixed soft herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, dill and basil
8 ounce-package smoked trout
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, oil, orange zest, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the asparagus and fennel, tossing to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature to marinate for 1 hour.
Toward the end of the marinating time, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Remove the asparagus and fennel from the marinade and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Reserve the marinade. Roast the asparagus and fennel for 20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss together the watercress and herbs. Drizzle some of the reserved marinade over the greens and toss to coat evenly. Arrange the fennel and asparagus on serving plates or a platter. Top with the watercress and herb mixture. Use a fork to flake the trout over the greens. Top with the radish and avocado.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 377 calories; 225 calories from fat (60 percent of total calories); 25g fat (4g saturated; no trans fats); 81mg cholesterol; 18g carbohydrate; 21g protein; 8g fiber; 316mg sodium.