Admittedly, I was inspired by this post from The Bitten Boys (who were inspired here) coupled by my love of raw vegetables. And asparagus–plumb, thick, stalky–this time of year are very hard to resist. The salad was devoured the other night at a dinner party I hosted save for one friend who pushed it aside. I don’t delude myself into solipsistic thought that my cooking is amazing and loved by all. Honestly, I want legitimate feedback and criticism. If something needs more flavor, if a dish, simply put, sucks, tell me. I can’t improve without feedback.
I–along with five others that night–thought the salad was rather excellent. When I looked at the source, I knew why: Del Posto Restaurant in Manhattan. I should have known immediately as the salad is covered with Mario Batali’s fingerprints; just a few high-quality ingredients. I added a few things I had lying about; some toasted pine nuts. Fresh mint, too. I also used a mixture of green and purple asparagus. My friend Jon suggested some citrus next time, perhaps a few orange segments. The salad is super-easy. Keep it simple and rustic or if you are feeling the need to create a fancy raw asparagus salad, consider this rather striking one courtesy of L.A. Times:–a bit fussy for vegetables but it sure does look gorgeous.
How would you vary this salad?
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
1 bunch of fresh mint, roughly torn (my addition)
1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts (my addition)
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. Add the pine nuts. Toss in the mint and serve at once.