Asparagus salad

While I was visiting a friend in Italy last month, I developed a morning ritual of sneaking out to the garden to nibble on the asparagus plants. Standing in the gravel flower beds in my pajamas, I would become almost sick with nostalgia for that first year out of college when I felt no pressure to do anything but explore, when I, in fact, helped my good friend build these beds. So, in shadow of a 14th century castle, kind of melancholic and daydreaming, I just, you know, pruned away the “extra” shoots, so thin and tender, they didn’t need to be cooked. If prepared right, most asparagus can be eaten raw, simply by slicing it or chopping fine enough to avoid the woody stems or too much gnawing. I like to serve raw asparagus with a really acidic dressing that almost pickles them. I later made a version tossed with violets and a few herbs. Great as a side dish with chicken or lamb or palate cleanser with pasta.

Asparagus salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 lemon
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
Preparation
Clean the asparagus thoroughly, and break off the woodiest part of the stem towards the base. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully shave slivers into a bowl. Dress with half a lemon, a generous glug of olive oil, white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a handful of grated Parmesan for extra salt and nuttiness. Serve chilled.
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