We can’t get enough asparagus lately! Enjoyed this great salad last night with turkey burgers and a dry, chilled glass of Kim Crawford.
Start by selecting thick asparagus. Two bunches feeds 4 people as a side dish, with leftovers. Peel it lengthwise with a vegetable peeler. Add to the long peels:
- 2-3 Tbsp. chopped spearmint leaves, and
- 1/3C toasted hazelnuts. (To toast: Crush hazelnuts slightly, place in dry skillet, and stir, on medium heat, until nuts are browned and fragrant.)
- Dressing: 1 tsp. each: olive oil, clear honey, lemon juice, and white balsamic vinegar.
- Finish with fresh ground pepper.
- If desired, add a few small shavings of Pecorino or Asiago cheese, but use sparingly, due to sodium content.
Did you know that it takes three years for a new asparagus garden to produce a crop? But once established, that same garden will produce asparagus for the next 20-30 years? Asparagus is a difficult crop to grow in the beginning. Even though there is no crop for 2-3 years, the soil must remain weed-free that entire time, because once the weeds take hold, the delicate underground plants won’t survive. In the fall, asparagus has the most beautiful red berries! Read all about this fascinating plant here.
Here is the recipe for this simple but amazing salad!
Asparagus Ribbons with Mint and Hazelnuts
- vegetable peeler
- 2 bunches asparagus
- 3 Tbsp spearmint leaves
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp clear honey
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
- shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly, until hazelnuts are browned and fragrant. Remove from the pan and let them cool on a separate plate.
- Wash produce and snap the woody bottom off asparagus; discard. Slice the florets off the top of each asparagus stem, and set aside.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the long asparagus stems lengthwise until all stems are long, flat ribbons. Put asparagus ribbons and florets in a serving bowl.
- Chiffonade the mint leaves by first stacking them on top of each other, and then rolling them; slice the rolls into thin strips.
- In a small bowl, combine olive oil, honey, vinegar and lemon juice. Mix with a fork or whisk to emulsify.
- Place the cooled hazelnuts in a small plastic bag and tap them with the flat side of a meat tenderizer mallet to break some of them into smaller pieces.
- Place the hazelnuts in the serving bowl with the asparagus, top with mint and the liquid dressing. Toss to mix. Garnish with shaved Parmesan.