Food & Wine (April 2010)
This is the time of year when we get giddy at the farmers market.
For the past few weeks, it's asparagus that has most called to us while at the market. Last weekend, when we saw the big, beautiful bunches of purple asparagus piled high on the market tables, we knew we had to buy some.
We typically keep things simple when it comes to preparing our asparagus. Depending on how we're feeling, we typically either roast it or steam it briefly in the microwave. We almost never eat it raw, and if we do, it's typically as a toss-in to a salad.
Well, friends, it turns out that raw asparagus is where it's at. We think you'll need no more than this salad to convince you.
Our favorite kinds of recipes are those that use very few ingredients but maximize the flavor of one key food. Extra bonus points if the recipe uses an interesting technique to make for a nice presentation.
That's the case with this asparagus salad. It's got only a scant handful of ingredients, but it's packed with huge flavors. And it really lets the fresh taste of the asparagus come through.
Preparing this dish is insanely simple, and you don't even need to turn on the oven or the stove. ust trim each stalk and then shave it with a vegetable peeler, creating long, thin strips. Mix together a simple dressing of Parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil and water. Toss it with the asparagus, and, well, that's it!
The recipe says that the prep time is 25 minutes, but we think you only need about half that time. It's a delicious and fresh-tasting salad that's enough on its own to get you excited about spring.
If you want to make this salad at home, this is definitely an instance in which the asparagus you choose will either make or break the dish. If at all possible, buy very fresh, recently harvested asparagus from your local farmers market. Woody stalks that have languished in the supermarket will likely make for a lackluster salad.
So if you're out and about this weekend, seek out a market and grab yourself some fresh asparagus. Just try not to get too giddy.
(This photo: Food & Wine)
-- TOTAL TIME: 25 MIN
-- SERVINGS: 6
-- 2 pounds large asparagus
-- 1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 ounces)
-- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
-- 2 tablespoons warm water
-- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long, thin strips and transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix the Parmigiano-Reggiano with the lemon juice, water and olive oil. Add to the asparagus and toss to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.