"I hate people who are not serious about their meals."

Oscar Wilde,
The Importance of Being Earnest

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Asparagus for Non-Asparagus Eaters

Love it, or hate it?  Asparagus seems to be one of those things that drives people to extremes of opinion. Many will scrunch up their noses at the mere mention of it, possibly recalling a past experience with canned asparagus, or some other form of the vegetable cooked beyond recognition.  Personally, I love the stuff. (Admittedly, I have been known to enjoy a canned asparagus and grilled cheese sandwich from time to time, but let's pretend I didn't tell you that.) Here's a way of serving asparagus that involves absolutely no risk of ending up with a squishy dull green mess.  It's raw asparagus!  Shaved into lovely curly slivers with a surprisingly subtle, fresh green flavour and just the right amount of crunch. Tossed with a simple dressing and some sharp pecorino cheese, it's refreshing and more-ish - sure to be a standout with any main meal.  Try it, you might just like it.

Shaved Asparagus Salad
1 bunch asparagus
3 tablespoons grated pecorino
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Wash the asparagus and snap off the tough ends. Shave into fine slices using a vegetable peeler, starting at the stem end and moving toward the tip. Alternatively you could use a mandolin to do this, but I wasn't confident in there only being a thin layer of asparagus between my fingers and the cutting blade, so I opted to use the peeler.  Combine the cheese, lemon juice and water.  Whisk in the oil to emulsify.  Toss through the asparagus and season with salt and pepper.  Feel free to play around with the proportions of ingredients in the dressing, according to your own taste - admittedly I added a little extra cheese to my serving... I can't resist pecorino!


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