The only thing more spring that fresh strawberries might be raw asparagus. This salad is perfect, simple and balanced. The nuttiness of the parmesan and the sharpness of the dressing compliment the asparagus wonderfully. This was out first foray into raw asparagus territory and it turns out that the distinct asparagus flavor is actually more mild when it’s raw. I also was worried about the asparagus being tough, but you shave the spears so thin that they become really tender – think asparagus fettuccini.
Shaved Asparagus and Parmesan Salad, from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook
1 shallot, diced
2 T white wine or champagne vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bunch asparagus spears
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Dice the shallot and let it marinate in vinegar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Carefully shave the asparagus spears into thin ribbons. I used a japanese mandolin, but you could also use a vegetable peeler or a very sharp knife. This step takes a while, but the end result is worth it. The asparagus is so tender and wonderful and not stringy at all. Jordan also suggested using a mandolin to cut the spears into asparagus coins instead of ribbons as a time saver. You could cut multiple spears at once and your fingers are in less danger as you cut. We think this would be just as tasty.
Whisk the olive oil into the shallot mixture. Pour over the asparagus and toss to coat. Plate each serving and top with generous amount of shaved parmesan.