Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring Vegetables

Despite back and forth weather, it finally feels like spring is in full swing in New York when you visit the market. Ramps, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, irises, peonies... it is so exciting these days! I've been obsessing over ramps and leeks and just itching to make my first strawberry rhubarb pie of the season.

One thing that I've been keeping my refrigerator stocked with these days is asparagus. I just can't get enough of it - I have filled up multiple quiches, chopped it up to go on top of pasta, grilled it with a little lemon juice, and even made a raw asparagus salad.

Come again? RAW? I know, I didn't believe it would work either. I thought about it and thought about it and couldn't wrap my brain around eating this bizarrely delicious vegetable without cooking it first. But I was inspired and curious.

The results? A refreshing, crunchy, rustic and flavorful salad. A vinaigrette soaks into the asparagus to brighten it up and loosen up the earthy flavors, warm hazelnuts add a decadent spin, and shallots a bit of sweetness. I ate it with a full smile and a glass of rose - perfect summer dinner for one. I do have to admit, though, that since I am only one, I had leftovers. And the leftovers, they were not so good. The vinegar kept biting into the salad overnight and it turned into a cough-worthy strength of a salad - not my cup of tea.

But if you, like me, are looking for fun twists on an old standby of a spring vegetable, look no further.

Cold Asparagus Salad
Adapted from Culinerapy

Note: this recipe is very flexible, do not feel the need to be exact. You can certainly change around the nuts, add cheese, skip the mustard, use champagne vinegar, etc.

1/2 bunch medium to thin asparagus
3 tablesp0ons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard
pinch salt, pinch pepper
1 shallot, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup hazelnuts

1. Wash and trim asparagus. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, and shallot. Slowly whisk in olive oil, then toss in the asparagus. Cover and let soak in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
3. Just before serving, toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Toss into the salad and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Thanks for this recipe. I made this tonight and instead of shallots and hazelnuts, added Parmesan cheese chunks and chopped walnuts. Raw aspargus is delicious - who knew!?


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