Shaved Asparagus Salad

I really love Spring and Summer.  All winter I anticipate the fresh produce found at local farmer's markets and of course the warm weather.  I love seeing the landscape transform from it's barren winter state to varying hues of green.  Springtime is the season for rhubarb, asparagus, tender greens, strawberries, peas, cucumbers, radicchio {or if you are in Italy look for 'rocket'}, fava beans, and mushrooms.  

Today's salad {inspired from "Fine Cooking" magazine, spring 2012 issue} calls for asparagus in its raw form, which is not how I usually eat it.  I typically make grilled or steamed asparagus, but I really enjoyed eating this veggie raw and plan to do so more often.  I used the common green asparagus, but if you are lucky {which I was not}, you might find the purple {native to northern Italy} or white varieties.  The first time I made the salad, I noticed an earthy tone to the asparagus {nice way of saying it had an underlying taste of dirt}.  So, the second time I made this, I blanched the asparagus for not more than 1 minute, then immediately placed it in an ice bath to preserve it's crunchy texture.  This eliminated the earthy taste, yeah!  If you choose the white or purple varieties, you may not have to blanch the asparagus since they are typically milder, sweeter, and more tender than its green counterpart.

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Shaved Asparagus Salad Ingredients-serves 6

  • 3/4 lb of medium thickness asparagus- washed, blanched if needed
  • 3 cups of mixed greens - Red & green leaf lettuces, spinach, mizuna, radicchio; washed in a bowl of cold water, spin or pat dry
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 1-2 oz Shaved Pecorino cheese
  • Fresh cracked pepper- to taste

Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of Agave nectar or honey
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions to make Shaved Asparagus Salad

  • Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl, set aside or cover/refrigerate up to 3 days.
  • Cut tips off asparagus and place in a medium bowl.  Using a vegetable peeler, shave the stalks, turning as needed.  Add the shaved asparagus to the bowl of tips.  Toss with the vinaigrette and allow flavors to meld for 10-15 minutes.
  •  {After the 10-15 minutes} Add mix greens and nuts to the asparagus in the bowl and toss to lightly coat.  Arrange salad on plates and then top with the shaved Pecorino.  Serve immediately.