Another Sunday, another salad. This week's salad was chosen by Amy of Amy's Travel Blog-Destination Anywhere. She chose a delicious spring salad containing asparagus and peas. It was unusual in that the stems of the asparagus were raw. I really loved the salad. The crunchiness of the raw asparagus, the saltiness of the Parmesan cheese, and the earthyness of the toasted nuts. The salad was very quick to put together and I will be making it again in the future I am sure.
Amy says"This Spring salad is a variation of one that came from Bon Appetit a few years ago. Raw asparagus is surprisingly nutty tasting, and contrasts well with peppery arugula and sweet peas. (you could also use a salad mix if you prefer a sweeter lettuce). I give directions for dressing the greens and asparagus separately and then plating so it looks pretty, but you could certainly just toss everything in a salad bowl."
Raw Asparagus, Pea, and Arugula Salad
For the dressing--put these ingredients in the food processor, and whirl to combine. Taste and adjust to your liking.
* 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
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. (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.