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Nothing says spring like asparagus and peas. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Flowering herbs are a welcoming and delicious sign of what’s to come on the local farm stands. 

“I love garnishing with chive blossoms and garlic flowers. Even the yellow, flowering part of broccoli rabe,” proclaims culinary expert, food and tabletop stylist Lauren Lombardi. “It’s my favorite part of spring.” 

Spring chives as a gorgeous pop of color and bite, to an ordinary salad. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

The petite flowers also add a pop of color and bite, turning an ordinary salad into a visually pleasing nosh. Creating simple, rustic, delicious food is familiar territory for Lombardi, who “grew up in a kitchen” and whose catering company and store Lombardi’s Love Lane Market is celebrating its 10th season on the North Fork. Her love of art and antiques makes her Euro-inspired harvest tables graze-worthy, memorable experiences at events, all while remaining committed to using top-quality seasonal ingredients from local purveyors. 

This layered salad recipe celebrates early spring while highlighting the best of the season, such as asparagus and peas. With a few additions, it can quickly transform into a main course. 

“At home, I like to make a salad the meal, not just an appetizer,” explains Lombardi. Assembling the salad with the lemon vinaigrette-dressed greens of arugula as the base, she adds blanched and ice-bathed asparagus and peas, torn prosciutto and dollops of stracciatella. “It’s basically like the inside of burrata, and it spreads so easily,” says Lombardi of the traditional Italian cheese, made from pulled mozzarella curds mixed with fresh cream. “All you need for accompaniment is a crusty piece of toasted sourdough and a glass of a local sauvignon blanc or Italian Vermentino to complete the meal.”

A scattering of chive and dill flowers and a surprising addition of pea leaves (check in with the Westhampton Beach Farmers Market for a possible lucky score) will add the final touch, made even better served on a lovingly used antique platter. “There’s nothing more simple than a salad of fresh-cut greens and vegetables,” says Lombardi.

For Lauren Lombardi, eating fresh, locally sourced food is the best part of the warmer months. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Mangia bene!

Lauren Lombardi’s Spring Arugula Salad with Asparagus & Peas

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Serves 4 people


For the salad

  • 1 bunch local asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut into thirds or fourths
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 8 oz container of burrata or stracciatella
  • 1/3 cup toasted pignoli nuts (optional) 
  • 8-10 slices quality imported Prosciutto (optional)

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • half a lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Blanch asparagus and peas in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, quickly transfer to an ice bath. When cooled, drain the water and gently pat the vegetables dry with a paper towel.
  • Prepare the dressing by whisking ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Assemble the salad

  • Toss the arugula lightly in the vinaigrette and then arrange on a serving platter/bowl.Gently top with asparagus, peas, torn prosciutto and dollops of burrata/stracciatella. Season with flaky sea salt, cracked pepper and your favorite EVOO. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Any spring greens will go nicely with the fresh vegetables and cheese — see what’s available at the farmer’s market or your fridge.

The cheese can be substituted with goat cheese, feta cheese, fresh mozzarella or omitted completely.