My friend's birthday is this weekend, and instead of having a party, she's asked all of her loved ones to spend an afternoon volunteering and helping to clean up a local beach.
Because it's almost Earth Day and I'm getting in the spirit of things, I've offered to pack a hearty and healthful lunch for the volunteers.
On the menu? Asparagus salad with mushrooms, shallots, and peas. It's delicious at room temperature, so I'll simply store in individual serving containers in a picnic basket. Then I'll wrap halves of smoked turkey, blue cheese, and red onion sandwiches in parchment paper. People can enjoy as many halves as they'd like. These easy, make-ahead recipes are great for any sort of picnic, so check them out after the break.
2 teaspoons olive oil Serves 6. 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil Makes 4 sandwiches.
5 shallots, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 medium thick asparagus bunches, tough ends removed, cut on diagonal into 2-inch lengths (2 pounds total)
1 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 8- to 10-ounce red onions, cut into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
3 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 cups trimmed large arugula leaves (about 4 ounces), divided
3/4 cup mayonnaise
8 1/3-inch-thick slices seeded wheat bread (such as La Brea Bakery) or four ciabatta rolls, cut horizontally in half
12 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey
3/4 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese (such as Maytag; about 3 ounces)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Makes 4 sandwiches.