Friday, June 17, 2011

Final Taste of Spring: Shaved Asparagus Salad

Depending where you are, asparagus season may be just about coming to a close. It is here and I've been trying to take full advantage and eat my fill — practically daily. In case you've grown sick of it — gasp — here is a nice variation I had not tried before. It's asparagus in the raw and it's the kind of thing that just can't be done with bland grocery store asparagus. No exact measurements are given — it's all just to taste. You really can't go wrong.

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
From Smitten Kitchen

1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds 1 pound asparagus, rinsed (No need to snap off the tough ends)
1 lemon, halved
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread nuts on rimmed baking sheet in single layer  and toast for 5 to 10 minutes. DO set a timer and keep a close eye on things. They turn golden in a flash and then burn in a jiffy. We've all done it!

To shave asparagus, rest a single stalk on a cutting board while holding onto the tough end. Use a vegetable peeler  to shave off thin asparagus ribbons from stalk to tip, peeling away from the tough end in your hand. I'm sure a Y-shaped peeler would make this a breeze, but I used a standard one and it worked just fine. Discard the tough ends once you’re done peeling.

Pile one-third of your ribbons on a medium-sized serving platter. Squeeze some lemon juice over the asparagus, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Toss gently and then use your peeler to shave curls of Parmesan right off the block, over the asparagus. Sprinkle with some toasted nuts.

Repeat with remaining asparagus, a third of the remaining bundle at a time. Serve immediately.

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