The introduction to a moving overture, a captivating prologue to an arousing novel, the GameDay to a perfect Saturday of football – like these, a well-executed salad provides the perfect culinary foreplay for your senses, setting the stage for a delicious meal to follow.
Stealing the show in this perfectly balanced, and elegant salad is one of my favorite Spring superstars – asparagus. Marinated in a lemon/honey vinaigrette, shaved asparagus is backed by a supporting cast of spicy, Earthy arugula, crunchy pine nuts, and a slightly nutty and punchy shaved hard cheese.
For the cheese I used Sartori’s Balsamic BellaVitano, it’s amazing! If you can’t locate this cheese, a nice, hard, freshly-shaved Parmesan is the perfect substitute.
Shaving asparagus is a slightly tedious task, but worth the result, a sharp vegetable peeler is a must. You don’t want to let the asparagus marinate for more than 15 minutes, as it will lose its crunch and punch.
Enjoy with your favorite variation of nuts and cheeses, and additional herbs. The vinaigrette is classic and fresh and perfect for any number of salads, or on fish and chicken.
It’s fresh, it’s Spring, it’s Earthy, it’s awesome! Enjoy.
Shaved Asparagus Salad
For the vinaigrette
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons fragrant honey, such as wild flower or orange blossom
1 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the asparagus
3/4 pound thick asparagus, trimmed
3 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
2-1/2 ounces thinly shaved Balsamic BellaVitano, or Parmesan
Make the vinaigrette
Whisk all of the ingredients together, cover, and refrigerate.
Prepare the salad
Remove the tips of the asparagus and put them in a large bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shave a stalk, discarding the first shaving. When shaving the first side becomes awkward, turn the stalk over and repeat. Add the shavings to the tips. Repeat with the remaining stalks.
Toss the asparagus with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes so that the flavors meld and the asparagus softens just a bit.
Add the arugula and pine nuts and toss, adding more dressing as necessary to lightly coat the arugula. Arrange on plates and top with the shaved cheese. Serve immediately.
Slightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.