The First Spring Asparagus
The weather may have other ideas, however the getting my hands on the first asparagus of the season signifies Spring really is here. I adore asparagus and its arrival is always eagerly anticipated and I was excited to find so early in the season.
What to do with those first green spears? Dipped in a soft boiled egg? Drizzled with a little hollandaise? Wrapped in prosciutto? All good options but I opted for a simple salad that allows the asparagus, just as it is, to shine through. Leaving the asparagus raw allows its fresh sweetness to step in to the spotlight. This is a light, bright salad and perfect for Spring...now we just need the weather to play along.
Asparagus Salad with a Lemony Parmesan Vinaigrette
1 bunch or 16 spears of asparagus
2 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated, extra to shave a few shards
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup lemon olive oil, if you don't have lemon olive oil regular extra virgin olive oil will also work
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Bend the asparagus spears and they will break naturally to remove any woody bits and then with a vegetable peeler shave the spears in to long ribbons. Place the ribbons in a medium sized bowl. For the dressing place the Parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon olive oil and a pinch of pepper in to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine everything together in to what will be a reasonably thick consistency. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the asparagus and toss gently to coat. Mound the asparagus on to a large platter or individual plates and shave over a few more shards of Parmesan.
This salad really does feel like the essence of Spring. A sweet crunch from the asparagus all enveloped and in the vinaigrette which is bursting with a fresh lemon hit and then the deeper sharpness of the Parmesan. It will be dinner tonight alongside a little salmon.