This asparagus parmesan salad is light but comforting with the flavours of smoked mayo and salty parmesan.
I’ve mentioned a few times but a couple winters ago was tough personally. It was a cold, dark winter not only in Toronto but also in my mind.
I don’t know how to describe it. I was in a funk? Winter blues? General malaise?
I felt like I was constantly struggling to walk through tall drifts of snow just waiting for a break, an opening to make things easier. But one did not come. So I trudged on. I guess that’s all you can really do.
Part of the problem is that while I would consider myself an extrovert, as soon as I encounter sadness I shut down. I work from home. I have no problem leaving the house for days and I’m content to be in silence. Not speaking a word all day. I silently brood.
Winter is perfect for that.
You can blame solitude on the weather not the brewing storm in your mind.
Something changed this week. Perhaps it was the weather.
I started meditating using an app and sat out in the sun on our back deck. I forced myself outside into the light.
And as the season changed something clicked inside me too. Spring is all about starting over and I was done hiding in the dark crevices in my mind.
I was also forced to leave the house more. An amazing French olive oil company came to Toronto and asked if I could make food for them and serve it at the show. I’ve never done anything like this and so I was nervous.
But I was prepared with something a bit different that even in a trade show for food I thought people would love.
This asparagus parmesan salad is the perfect expression of an early Spring. It feels bright but also comforting.
I had a great time at the trade show.
At times I was at the booth only with the olive oil producer who spoke little English but was happy to share their story and answer questions. I felt proud of myself and the product I was working with.
Maybe that was the extra boost I needed to shed the winter blues.
This raw asparagus parmesan salad is one of the dishes I served. I paired it with an incredible olive oil that had notes of cocoa, truffle and walnuts.
I wanted to serve something in season but May is challenging in Canada; fortunately asparagus this season is beautiful.
MAKE IT AT HOME: Asparagus Pasta with Lemon Leek Cream
This recipe calls for cold smoked mayonnaise, which you can make easily with a cold smoker. If smoking isn’t your thing a few drops of truffle oil in the mayonnaise makes an excellent substitution – no one ever complained about truffle flavour.
But buy the high quality stuff like this one – a few drops is all you need. Remember truffle “flavour” or “essence” as an ingredient means fake chemical junk.
I love this recipe because the smoked mayo and salty parmesan give it a very decadent feeling.
While so many spring recipes point to the need of shedding pounds for the imminent swimsuit season this is all about enjoying food.
It’s also fitting for a French company as the French still love food for its simple pleasure.
I call this raw asparagus parmesan salad but it’s not quite raw as the asparagus are blanched.
It still maintains a great crunch and many people thought it was raw. The blanch just takes the edge off. Regardless it takes less than ten minutes to make and stores well in the fridge for days.
How to Smoke When You Don’t Have a Smoker
Back in the day smokers were reserved for professional barbecuers and restaurants. But one of our friends barbecues competitively and introduced us to a secret that will blow your mind.
With the A-MAZE-N Smoker box you can turn your barbecue into a smoker – for less than $30.
With this gadget you can smoke anything you want. From mayonnaise for this recipe to limes for a great margarita or blueberries for this blueberry grunt.
Let me know what you think of this raw asparagus salad recipe, and what your favourite asparagus recipes are. I’m keen to make something new this week.
Asparagus Parmesan Salad
- 2 lbs asparagus
- 3/4 cup smoked mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil
- 1 teaspoon Korean chili powder
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan
- to taste kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
How to Prepare Asparagus
First break off root end. Hold root end and centre section of each asparagus and bend gently. This will snap the root end off. Repeat this will remaining asparagus spears. Set root ends aside.
Slice the tips to be 1 inch each. Slice remaining asparagus. Set aside, separate from tips.
Bring a pot of salted water and asparagus root ends to a boil. Scoop out the ends and discard. Add tips only. Boil without a lid for 90 seconds and use a handheld strainer to remove tips and place in ice water to chill. Repeat this step with sliced asparagus.
Pour asparagus from ice water into strain and set aside for 30 minutes to remove excess water.
Chill freshly made asparagus stock and reserve for vegetable soup, risotto or other vegetable stock needs.
Toss asparagus with smoked mayo, truffle oil and Korean chili powder.
Season to taste. Divide amongst 6 plates and top with parmesan and drizzle with good quality olive oil.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 316 Total Fat 30g Saturated Fat 6g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 23g Cholesterol 19mg Sodium 408mg Carbohydrates 8g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 3g Sugar 2g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 6g
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