This time of year, I’m craving warm and comforting foods, but I’m also in need of nourishing and nutrient dense options. If it’s not soup then it must be a salad, and a warm wintery salad fits the bill every time. The concept of a warm “salad” might seem a little strange, but when you break it down its just another spin on one of favorite ways to prepare food. What really sets this apart is the herb and hemp topping. It takes a simple recipe and adds loads of texture and pops of flavor. I like this as a salad or side dish.
Warm Asparagus & Leek Salad with Herb Hemp Gremolata
1 T. olive oil
generous pinch sea salt
2 bunches leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced and cleaned
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
Herb Hemp Topping:
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
zest of 1 lemon
1 anchovy (optional)
pinch sea salt
1 T. hemp seeds
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, add anchovy if you choose to and gently break up with a spoon in the heated oil, then add additional ingredients for the herb hemp gremolata and sauté until hemp is toasted and golden brown. In total this will take about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a sauté pan or medium pot, add olive oil with a pinch of sea salt, garlic, and sliced leeks. Saute until leeks are softened, stirring frequently. Add asparagus and sauté only for additional 2-3 minutes. You want asparagus to be al dente.
Serve the asparagus and leek “salad” warm topped with the herb hemp gremolata.