This raw asparagus salad is light but comforting with the flavours of smoked mayo and salty parmesan.
I’ve mentioned a few times the the winter of 2017 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 didn’t need to be. Dave helped me decide what to make and then prepared all of the food for me. He’s done lots of work like this so he knew how to put it together to make it easy to serve. He packed everything so I would be ready. When I arrived at the trade show hall I saw he texted me wishing me good luck and that he knew I’d do well.
Before I met him I was completely ok with being alone for the rest of my life. I had already decided on my own that I would not have children. I wasn’t desperate to meet someone because I had built a life on my own. But it’s little things like those texts that make me happy that I stayed open to love and thankful that I met him.
I had a great time at the trade show, it was inspiring to hear La Vallongue’s story, they grow, hand pick and mill everything on site. The product is more expensive but also great quality and is winning many awards.
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 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 we make at Loka using a smoker. However, you can use a XXX in your barbecue to cold smoke mayonnaise. 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 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.
Raw Asparagus Salad
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.