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Raw Asparagus and Pea Salad

This was my selection for Slowtrav's Sunday Salad Samplers. It's a simple salad for Spring, with the surprisingly nutty and crisp raw asparagus. It's vital to take the step of peeling the asparagus, since its only when you remove the hard top layer that you get to the tender, juicy core.

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Raw Asparagus, Pea, and Arugula Salad

For the dressing--put these ingredients in the food processor or blender, and whirl to combine. Taste and adjust to your liking. (This makes a lot of dressing--it keeps well in the fridge for a week or two)

* 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar, rice-wine vinegar, or other delicate, slightly sweet vinegar
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 shallot, minced
* 1/4 cup hazelnut, toasted walnut, or pistachio oil (or just increase the olive oil--but a nut oil adds a lot of flavor)
* 1/4 cup light-tasting olive oil
* Salt--a pinch
* Pepper--a few grinds

For the Salad--

1 lb fat asparagus
2 cups garden peas; or frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 lb arugula (about 6 cups)
1 cup toasted walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, or other nuts
a chunk of good parmesan cheese

Snap off just the really woody bottom end of the asparagus. Since you'll be peeling the stems, you can use more than usual. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the stems all the way up, stopping just at the tips. (Important! -this step will make the stalks much more tender and juicy!) Cut off the tips, and blanch the tips for 2 minutes. Slice the stems on the diagonal in one-inch diagonal slices. Put the arugula in a bowl, and toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. In another bowl, combine the asparagus tips, cut-up stems, and the peas. Toss this mixture with dressing as well. Place a serving of the arugula on each salad plate. Top arugula with a portion of the vegetables. Shave large slices of the parmesan cheese with a vegetable peeler, and add to the salads. Sprinkle on nuts, and serve.

Comments (2)

It's a wonderful salad - I loved it and it was a hit at Mother's Day brunch. Thanks!

Marcia:

Thanks again for the recipe, I made it last week and plan to do it again for a potluck this weekend.

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