Monday, May 31, 2010

Something new to me.

I'm not sure how I feel about raw asparagus. I love them cooked and always have; blanched, steamed, roasted, bar-b-qued until they're blackened and carmelized with balsamic vinegar. But raw? Raw was something new to me, something I hadn't thought of. But, as with anything else, food is susceptible to trends and when one person in blog world writes about an idea, it catches on. Other's will try it, add their own twist, link to it, and spread the word. Soon google reader is filled with variations on the original recipe and everyone's joining the party.
Shaved raw asparagus has become one of those trends - sure it may not be as big as the french macaron explosion of 2009 but then, few foods are. There may be a confounding variable at work here, after all asparagus season is short and they tend to dominate vegetable consumption during this time but, still, I've been seeing just as many raw recipes as I have roasted.

As I said earlier, I'm not sure how I feel out it but I've made this salad a handful of times in the past weeks so something much be drawing me to it - maybe it's the crunch. Try it yourself and see.

Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad
Serves 4 as a side or 2-3 as a main course.

1 bunch raw asparagus, woody ends snapped off
4 handfuls baby arugula
Shaved fresh Pecorino Romano cheese
Fresh ground sea salt and black pepper
White balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)

Place a large handful of arugula in each of four bowls and set aside.
Cut the tips off the asparagus and set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long strips and divide them amongst the four bowls of arugula.
Top each bowl with the asparagus tips, salt, pepper and shavings of the Romano cheese.
Drizzle with white balsamic dressing and eat immediately.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is really more a recipe of proportions than specific measurments. Typically the ratio of oil to vinegar or acid is 2:1 respectively but, because I like mine sharper, I do 1:1.

White balsamic vinegar
Good olive oil
All natural dijon mustard

In a small bowl whisk together 1 part vinegar and 1 part olive oil. Whisk in enough mustard to thicken the mixture and add a tang (about 1 teaspoon for every serving of dressing). Can be refrigerated about a week or so in an airtight container.

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