I initially published this about a year ago, from Paris, where asparagus was on abundant display at every market. At Union Square the other day I was happy to see that the tri-state crop had finally come in, and I thought I’d revisit the idea.
I’ve seen the asparagus sliced into small pieces for salads like this, but I like to shave the spears into ribbons. The dressing is nothing more than the old reliables: salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. It’s delicious with pecorino or parmesan, too, and toasted walnuts are a fine addition.
Raw Asparagus Salad
1 pound asparagus
1/4 to 1/2 t salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 t lemon juice or white wine vinegar
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
grated pecorino or parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Wash the asparagus. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the spears.
2. Cut off the tips of the asparagus. With a sharp vegetable peeler, shave the stalks into thin ribbons. Alternately, slice the stalks on the diagonal, as thinly as you possibly can.
3. Toss the the tips and sliced stalks of the asparagus with a 1/4 t of salt, and the rest of the ingredients. Let it sit for a few minutes, so that some of the liquid is rendered from the asparagus and it softens slightly.
4. Taste the salad and adjust if necessary: Does it need more zip? Add lemon juice and pepper. Is it bland? Add salt.
5. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will get softer as it sits, so don’t make it more than a few hours ahead. If you’re using cheese, don’t add it until you’re ready to eat.