For some unknown reason, it had never occurred to me to eat asparagus raw. I’ve been eating it for most of my life and loving it, in every preparation I’ve had. But raw just never happened, and now that I know better I’m both delighted and sad. I’ve been missing out on this for how long? That is so sad. But happy days are here now! This salad is everything you want in a salad. Fresh, simple and sublime. I’m not kidding, you need to make this. In season, out of season, grab the next bunch you see and make this salad!
Take one bunch of asparagus, rinse and pat dry, then cut on the bias into 1/4″ to 1/2″ pieces. I leave the tips in 1/2″ pieces but you could also leave them whole. Pull out a pretty bowl and dump the asparagus in. Zest one lemon, then squeeze the lemon juice in. Cut one medium size (about 2″ to 3″ long) shallot in a very fine dice and add it to the bowl. Shave or grate enough parmesan cheese in to make you happy. Seriously, it takes about 1/4 cup to get me there in this salad, but you might want more or less. It’s your salad, I want you to be happy! Take your best extra virgin olive oil and drizzle about 2 tablespoons over the top.
Now this is where it gets complicated. Mix well, and taste. Does it need a pinch of salt? I usually don’t think so because the parmesan is salty. But a quick grind of pepper might be in order. Taste again, does it need some lemon? Or olive oil? Then add it. It should taste lemony,but not overly acidic. The olive oil should melt everything together and give a softness to the shallot and creaminess to the parmesan. The asparagus should be bright, and crisp. I think you’ll love this salad. It tastes wonderful, it looks so pretty, and it’s easy. It takes about 15 minutes to put together and that includes the chopping!
Just a quick thought, some finely chopped hard boiled egg on top of this before serving would be beautiful! And the yolk would add some lushness to the salad. Ok, I’m doing that next time I make this! Feel free to add and experiment. I can also see this expanding into many different variations. Go crazy!