The moment I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Fine Cooking, I knew I had to make it right away. First, because it involves asparagus. Secondly, because they are prepared in a novel way – the spears are shaved as ribbons. I am already quite fond of thinly sliced raw asparagus as in this farro salad, so I looked forward to trying this new (to me, anyway ;-)) method to serve them.
SHAVED ASPARAGUS SALAD
(adapted from Fine Coking magazine)
for the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or 1 Tablespoon honey)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
salt and black pepper to taste
for the salad:
1/2 lb. thick asparagus, trimmed
2 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup toasted cashew nuts
2 oz. thinly shaved aged Gouda
Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, agave nectar, shallots in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate if not using right away.
Remove the tips of the asparagus and put them in a large bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shave a stalk discarding the first shaving, which will contain only the thick outer layer. When shaving the first side becomes awkward, turn stalk over and repeat. Add all shavings to the bowl with the tips. Repeat with remaining stalks. Toss asparagus with 1/4 cup of vinaigrette and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Add arugula and toss, adding more dressing if needed to coat the leaves. Top with the shaved cheese and cashews, adjust seasoning and serve right away.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: This salad dressing is very close to perfection. The original recipe used honey, but I’m so fond of agave nectar that whenever I have the opportunity, I use it instead. Once you add the dressing to the shaved asparagus, the transformation is quite obvious: within a few minutes the ribbons start to soften up. Don’t do it too early, or they will get mushy. For obvious reasons, the salad won’t keep at its best for very long, so if you are serving it at a dinner party, keep that in mind. The asparagus tips will retain most of their bite, adding a nice texture together with the cashew nuts.
At first, I thought about substituting parmiggiano or ricotta salata for the cheese component of this recipe. Aged Gouda is not a cheese we normally buy, but its slightly smoked taste worked surprisingly well with the arugula and asparagus. We gave it two thumbs up!
I can see many variations of this recipe during Spring and Summer months. And, I was not the only one who enjoyed it: browsing through “One Perfect Bite” the other day, I noticed that Mary also loved it. Check it out by jumping here.
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