I’m kind of fixated on this dish as of late. Isn’t spring a lovely time for asparagus?
I made a hearty Italian meal the other night and wanted a little something green to serve with it. A cold asparagus salad sounded perfect. Something simple and easy of course.
I’ve noticed a few other asparagus recipes on the web lately. Smitten Kitchen boasts a gorgeous plate of ribboned asparagus. As much as I love the presentation, I hate peeling vegetables. I avoid tedium at all costs. And I’m especially ungifted at peeling asparagus. Believe me, I’ve tried.
I opted to chop mine into tiny buttons. Take a bunch of rinsed asparagus and line em up like so.
And off with their heads!
Once you’ve chopped the stalks into symmetrical bits, toss them into a pan that has a good fitting lid. Add a splash of water and cook them on medium heat until they turn bright green. This should only take a minute or two. Then blanch them by transferring the asparagus to a bowl of ice water.
This technique is called blanching and is used to stop the cooking process immediately. This allows the asparagus to retain their gorgeous green color and crunchy texture. It also makes the dish more vibrant and interesting.
Once they’ve cooled, strain the asparagus and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of pepper, two Tablespoons olive oil and the juice and zest of half a lemon.
Give it a good stir and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
This dish is so versatile and really great for leftovers. You could easily make a pasta salad version of this for picnics and potlucks. You could also spruce it up with tomatoes and corn for a colorful, playful twist.
Here’s a recap of the recipe with instructions.
Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)
1 bunch asparagus (rinsed)
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
bowl of ice water (for blanching)
Directions: Chop the asparagus into small pieces. Put the asparagus and a splash of water in a pot on the stove top. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until asparagus turn bright green. Turn off the heat and transfer the asparagus to the ice bath. Allow to sit in the ice water for a couple of minutes. Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and stir well. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with extra lemon zest if desired.
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