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Chef Andrea Nicholson makes three fabulous seasonal sides

Andrea has great tips about seasonal produce and puts together a wonderful asparagus salad.

Grilled Asparagus Salad with proscuitto and parmesan

Serves 4-6


  • 2 pounds green asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • 8 slices prosciutto, thinly, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Greens, to garnish
  • 1 shallot, roughly, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • white pepper
  1. Snap or cut off fibrous asparagus ends. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus for one minute and immediately plunge or "shock" stalks into ice water to stop cooking process and preserve colour.
  2. Place the asparagus on a paper towel to dry. In a stainless steel bowl, add asparagus and toss with enough olive oil to coat. This will prevent asparagus from sticking to the grill. Season the asparagus with salt and ground white pepper and place lengthwise on preheated grill.
  3. Cooking time will be short (only 2 to 3 minutes) as asparagus is already pre-cooked.
  4. In a stainless steel pan add shallots, honey and vinegar. Whisking continuously, slowly add olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Divide asparagus among 4 plates.
  • Place 2 slices of proscuitto on top.
  • Spoon vinaigrette over and around asparagus.
  • Top with greens.
  • With a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, thinly slice Parmesan into curls and place on top.
  • Spoon on a little more vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Tomato, fresh herbs, cucumber and yogurt Salad

Serves 4-6

  • 6 Heirloom Tomatoes or Vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 english cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp each of fresh dill, flat leaf parsley, chives, chervil
  • 1 cup of full fat greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a bowl combine, yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, scallions, salt and pepper. Mix together well. Let sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. 
  2. On a platter arrange the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, alternating them to create a scaled affect. Drizzle the yogurt dressing on top of the tomato/cucumber (less is more here). Scatter all of the fresh herbs over top and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 
  3. Serve Cold.

Baby Spinach Salad with green apple, avocado & maple dressing

Serves 4-6

  • 12 oz of  baby spinach
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped1 green apple, unpeeled & diced 
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) cheddar cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup (50mL) aged white cheddar or any other cheese works well

Maple Dressing:
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly chopped parsley:

Combine all of the maple dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Yields 1 1/4 cups 
Wash and dry the baby spinach. Place into salad bowl and set aside.

Just before serving pour desired amount of dressing over spinach and toss well to coat. Add the bacon, apple, avocado and cheese, toss lightly. 

Monday, May 9, 2011