Think seasonally with the peak produce that’s available and you’ll have a great salad every time. In spring, that includes asparagus, radishes, herbs, and delicate greens. Herbs are underutilized in salads, just sprinkled over the top or stirred into vinaigrettes. Keep leaves whole and incorporate into the greens so their flavor comes through. Chef Deborah Madison notes that a shared herb is a great way to tie a first-course salad to a main course. Remember that the fat in a salad doesn’t have to come from the oil in the dressing; a drizzle of browned butter brings everything together.
1. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over medium-high. Add radishes, asparagus, and snap peas; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Plunge radish mixture into a bowl filled with ice water; let stand 2 minutes. Drain.
2. Heat a small saucepan over medium. Add butter to pan; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove pan from heat; stir in rind, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
3. Combine arugula, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, oil, and 1 tablespoon juice; toss. Arrange arugula mixture on a platter; top with radish mixture. Drizzle with butter mixture and remaining 2 teaspoons juice. Serve immediately.