Shaved Asparagus Salad with Parmesan and Hazelnut Oil

Did you know that you can make ribbons out of raw asparagus and make the most delicious spring salad? No cooking required.

One night, pregnant and overheated, I escaped to the Hudson river, in search of cool breezes, with Aron and then strolled over to a West Village favorite, Barbuto, for dinner. There was a crudi salad on the menu that night—a simple but lovely pile of shaved, raw vegetables with lemon vinaigrette and it was amazing. I’ve been meaning to try something similar and asparagus just appeared at our local market. It’s my favorite spring vegetable.

And this preparation couldn’t be prettier.

My favorite asparagus are the ultra-thin spears, roasted on a baking sheet for just a few minutes with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. But for making those translucent ribbons, your best bet are the thick spears. The thin would snap the second you applied pressure with a vegetable peeler.

I did a quick search on the internet for “shaved asparagus”-techniques and found some different opinions about mandolines versus peelers and as to which direction you should run along the spear. I found the simplest way to work was to lay the washed spear flat on a cutting board, hold onto the tip, and run a vegetable peeler from tip to base.

There was a  bit of each spear that I was unable to shave. You could throw them onto a skillet or baking sheet, eat them raw if they’re tender enough, or save them for something like a frittata or omelet. I snapped off the tips and, while they were fine to eat raw, I did cheat here: I tossed them into a cup and put them in the microwave for 15 seconds. Then result is a bit more flavor and a bright green color.

We have this delicious, aromatic La Tourangelle Toasted Hazelnut Oil

on hand and I’m always looking for excuses to use it. I highly recommend it with this—maybe 1/2 Tbsp per plate. The nutty flavor is really a special addition, but  you could just run some olive oil over the shaved asparagus and add toasted hazelnuts to achieve virtually the same end.

Finally, top with ribbons of parmesan (I also grated some on a Microplane

to be sure there was a little in every bite), asparagus tips, and coarsely ground salt and pepper.

P.S. Another favorite dish for spring.

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