Niçoise-Style Asparagus Salad; philosophical words

This is one of our favorite spring salads.

It has all the right ingredients: fresh greens, asparagus and green garlic.

Add capers, olives and tomatoes and I could easily eat it every day at least once.

Sadly, I’m forced into buying my salad greens this year but at least I have a lot of choices at the market.

And, as I learned while living in Andorra, even if it’s not sold as organic (bio here in France), if it has little slugs and snails in it, one can be reasonably certain no chemicals were used….

Niçoise-Style Asparagus Salad

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 6oz (175gr) asparagus, roll cut into 1.5 inch (4 cm) lengths. 
  • 2 tbs capers
  • 10 black olives, dry-cured Greek, Kalamata, or Niçoise
  • 10 small mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 green garlic, sliced thinly
  • 3oz (90gr) mâche (lambs lettuce) or other spring greens, prepped
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 tbs good olive oil
  • 1 tbs snipped, fresh tarragon 

Niçoise-Style Asparagus Salad


  • Fill a large saucepan half full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • When boiling, drop in asparagus and parboil for 2 minutes.
  • Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of cold water. Drain and fill with cold water again. 
  • When cool, drain and spread them on paper towels and pat dry.
  • Vinaigrette: In a small bowl mix mustard and vinegar. 
  • Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking until emulsified. Add tarragon.
  • Salad: Put green garlic and half the vinaigrette into a large salad bowl. Marinate for 15 minutes.
  • To finish: Add greens to salad bowl and toss well to combine.
  • Divide and arrange on two plates.
  •  Arrange asparagus, tomatoes and mozzarella on greens.
  • Sprinkle olives and capers on top.
  • Drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette and serve, any remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Print Recipe

There has been sad news and bad news and WTF? news this past week.

I will leave it to the rest of the world to opine on all of it.

I, on the other hand, will give you a few of Socrates’ opinions on how to sort through it all.

I originally posted about this 2 years ago (you remember….. the primaries?). I ran across it the other day, reread it and decided to share it again.

It comes from an article called “Philosophy and Political Fallacy, when candidates supplant reasoned debate with false arguments”. In it the author, Tom Fournier, lays out some of the ways politicians (and others) avoid talking about anything that’s important.

Despite the weighty title it’s an interesting read and you can find the entire article here in a PDF:

Allow me to give you a few examples to pique your interest.

To put it in perspective, and to explain the Greek terms, the tactics described in the article were widely practiced, polished and fine-tuned by the Greeks, in particular Socrates, some 2400 years ago.

First this about ancient Greece: “…. students were taught a win-at-any-price strategy, and debate was rarely about discovering truth or good.”

Sound familiar?

These are some of the techniques they used and that our own politicians are still using today:

Ad Hominem: “… to avoid honest debate by simply disparaging the character of the opponent”

“X is proposing a tax increase to help impoverished families yet his devotion to families is hardly credible given his admitted illicit affair.”

Now instead of focusing on helping impoverished families and / or the tax increase everyone talks about the affair.

Argument ad Populum: …“emotional appeal to the populace”

“Leaving (whatever) war before a complete win means our soldiers died in vain.”

The implication is that only an unscrupulous / evil person would end the campaign, denigrating all the soldiers who died. The emotion clouds the ability to see the real reason behind the decision and makes it socially unacceptable to consider both sides of the argument.

Ignoratio Elenchi: …“ignorance of the refutation” – extrapolating the opponents position to an unintended, ridiculous extreme

“… a health-care regulation offering patient counseling for end-of-life care options might be unfairly extrapolated as an intent on establishing ‘death panels’ to determine who is worthy of care.”

Now the advocate of the counseling has to defend against the charge of death panels, making death panels an issue when the idea didn’t even exist before the accusation.

False Choice:

“Were WWII kamikaze pilots a tragic waste of youth or a noble sacrifice?”

To the Japanese, weren’t they both?

Either we cut spending or we raise taxes.

Wouldn’t a plan to do both make the most sense? Why does it have to be either / or? It’s the either / or aspect of so many issues that polarizes groups.

The article sites more examples and more detailed explanations of the techniques.

We are being manipulated and it’s our own fault.

“We are to blame for the current unbridled use of fallacy in our politics. We reward campaigner deceit with political office, and we reward biased media pundits with high viewer ratings even when they parrot fallacies unchallenged.”

Some things never change….

I wonder what Socrates would have done with Twitter?

Last update on June 10, 2018

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