Last week was a big week here on the wee little island of Brigantine. Not only did we kick off the start of the summer season, it was also the year’s first farmer’s market! Booths we’re bustling with bright red strawberries, radishes, spring onions, greens, lettuces, and lots and lots of asparagus.
This salad, in my humble opinion, is one of the tastiest ways to enjoy one of Spring’s finest offerings. Shaved into paper thin strips, fresh, raw asparagus is surprisingly crisp, tender and sweet. Combined with the bright lemon juice and sharp, salty pecorino, it awakens the palate with something interesting and unconventional, yet still familiar. This is simple, seasonal food at it’s best.
Watch the video to see how it’s made, then check the recipe for some additional tips!
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 1 bunch of thick speared asparagus
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 oz wedge pecorino Romano
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves (optional)
- Place the minced shallot and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Cut the tough ends off the asparagus, then use a vegetable peeler to shave long, thin strips. Slowly stream the olive oil into the bowl with the shallot and lemon juice as you whisk to emulsify. Add the strips of asparagus to the bow, then use clean hands to gently toss.
- Plate the asparagus on a serving platter or split into 4 individual dishes. Use the peeler to shave big shards of pecorino over the top. Scatter the parsley leaves around, if desired. Serve immediately. Leftovers do not hold up well.
- Choose asparagus with thick stems for this recipe. The thicker stems have a more mellow, sweeter flavor, and the pencil thin spears are nearly impossible to shave.
- I recommend storing asparagus in a tall glass of water, like cut flowers. They will last longer.
- Parmesan can be substituted for the pecorino, but I prefer the sharpness and saltiness of the latter.