ARTICHOKE, ASPARAGUS, WALNUT SALAD
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups water
4 to 6 baby artichokes
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 pounds asparagus
1 duck breast, skin and fat removed
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
4 cups arugula
2 bunches watercress, stems removed (to make about 2 cups leaves)
1 head radicchio, coarsely chopped (to make about 2 cups)
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, combine the water and lemon juice in a bowl.
Break off the dark green outer leaves, about 3 layers, until you reach the pale golden-yellow inner leaves of the artichokes, trim the upper 1/4 of the artichoke leaves and the stem. Using a knife or a mandolin, slice the artichokes lengthwise into pieces a slim 1/4 inch thick, and put them in the acidulated water.
Pour about 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a frying pan and heat over medium- high heat. When the oil is hot, pat dry the artichoke slices, and fry them in the oil until crisp and golden, turning several times, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain, and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
Trim the asparagus, discarding any tough stem ends, be cut into 2-inch lengths, or left whole. Place them in a baking dish, add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle with some of the sea salt and pepper, turn to coat, place in the oven, cook until tender and the tips are just beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.
Combine the shallots, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large salad bowl, mix well with a fork, mix in the vinegar, add the arugula, watercress and radicchio to the dressing, turning to coat well.
Place the salad on a platter and arrange any desired sliced meat, fowl or fish down the center, with asparagus on either side, bordered by the artichoke crisps. Go with seasonal greens, add olives, avocado, capers, green beans, mushrooms, cheese or whatever else appeals. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serves 4