A Recipe for Spring: Anti-Inflammatory Asparagus Salad
Inflammation is a double-edged sword. In the short term, we need it to fight infection and heal damage that might occur. “Sometimes, however, inflammation overstays its welcome and becomes chronic,” says Kim Dittus, MD, a medical oncologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. “This can contribute to pain.”
Inflammation also plays a role in the development of many chronic diseases, including cancer. Drugs targeting inflammation pathways to help treat cancer are under investigation.
Many factors contribute to chronic inflammation, including what we eat! Sugar, refined grains and ultra-processed food contribute to chronic inflammation. Fortunately, our food choices, including colorful plants, green tea, olive oil, herbs and spices, can help lower chronic inflammation. The benefits are not from a single component in these foods, but the sum of their beneficial nutrients and phytonutrients.
Spring is here which brings fresh asparagus! High in Vitamins C and E and phenols, eating asparagus can help reduce chronic inflammation. Here’s a tasty recipe, courtesy of the Culinary Medicine team at the UVM Medical Center, that features asparagus and a tangy dressing. It’s great for lunch or an elegant side dish.
Asparagus Mimosa Salad
1 ½ pounds medium asparagus, trimmed and lower half of stalk, peeled
2 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 hard-boiled eggs
½ cup fresh chopped herbs or micro greens
- Prepare a bowl of ice and cold water.
- Put asparagus into a 12-inch heavy skillet, then cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and add 2 teaspoons of salt, then reduce heat and simmer asparagus, uncovered until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer asparagus with tongs to ice water, then to a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry.
- Whisk together vinegar, shallot, mustard, pepper, and remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
- Halve eggs, then force through a medium-mesh sieve into another small bowl.
- Toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette in a large shallow bowl and place asparagus on a serving platter. Spoon additional vinaigrette over asparagus and top with egg and herbs.