Monday, June 9, 2014

Shaved Asparagus Salad

No recipe posts in quite a while. Am I less adventurous or having more failures in the kitchen? Maybe a little of both.  This recipe turned out to be a resounding success on the first try --- only wish I had had it for last year's asparagus season too!  A couple of Christmases ago Chris gave me the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I immediately read it and flagged several recipes to try.  One that missed my eye the first time, maybe because of the pizza part, was "Shaved Asparagus Pizza". On re-reading I discovered the origin of the pizza. Deb Perelman writes, "I was at a restaurant that served it [asparagus] shaved raw into ribbons, dressed only with lemon, olive oil and Parmesan"*. Wow, I thought, we are in the height of asparagus season, forget about the pizza, go for the salad.  Using Perelman's pizza recipe (no lemon juice), it was easy to come up with a salad recipe.  I had a critical tester who I think this time of year begins to hope the asparagus season will soon be over.  After tasting this salad, he offered no suggestions except to make it again soon.   It is as pretty as it is tasty, especially when made with asparagus that is picked the same day.

When I boil/steam asparagus I like the pieces with small diameters.  However, the bunches usually have spears of mixed diameters.  Slightly larger diameters work best with this recipe.

Wash and dry

1/2 pound (about 16 medium size spears) asparagus; do not remove the tough end of the stalk.

Place each spear, on the edge of a cutting board, hold it by the tough end and  and using a vegetable peeler, slice into thin strips. The last piece will be thicker than the others which will be "ribbon like". Cut the thicker piece into bite-size pieces. Compost the tough end of the stalk.
Put the asparagus in a bowl and add:

2-3 scallions thinly sliced (purple bulb scallions, if available, add a bit of color)
1 t olive oil
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t salt
pepper to taste
1-2 T Parmesan cheese, grated

Divide between two plates and garnish (optional) with a dusting of Parmesan and a few scallion rings

VARIATION: Make the salad, increase the olive oil to 2 T and toss with 6 ounces cooked whole wheat spaghetti (to serve two).  So sorry I just discovered this combination as the asparagus season ended....

* Page 109

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