Saturday, May 10, 2014

Asparagus and Avocado Salad

Hurray for fresh asparagus!  Before I go on I should disclose that I bought about 3 lbs of fresh asparagus at the farmers' market this week (along with a LOT of other fresh produce, some of which we already used) and as of today we have only used about half of it.  So you can expect a few more asparagus recipes shortly.  We already made a much lazier version of this Spring Salad of Asparagus, Ramps, Snap Peas, and Peas, with Poached Egg and Lemon Vinaigrette and we are planning on making some asparagus tacos tomorrow.  We will have to wait and see how much asparagus we have left after that, but I'm thinking it will be enough for at least one more dish.  

I guess I should turn to this salad.  I bought My Pizza by Jim Lahey roughly two years ago but we haven't had the opportunity to use it much.  There are a ton of delicious looking pizzas in there (one of which I am considering for our remaining asparagus), but there are also some nice salads and other appetizers.  For us it has become one of those cookbooks I always mean to use, but somehow never do.  I need to fix that because this salad was one of the easiest and tastiest things we have made at home recently.  The combination of asparagus, avocado, lime and mint isn't an intuitive one for me but it works really nicely.  I was worried this salad would be a little too simple, but it works - it's really simple, but the avocado makes it creamy and a little indulgent and the fresh farmers' market asparagus has a lovely grassy sweetness.  Our lime was a little stingy on the juice so I would recommend tasting and adding more lime juice to taste (or a little lime zest if your limes are similarly stingy).  This is a dish I can definitely see us making in the future - it's perfect on days where you just don't want to turn on the stove and/or oven, but a mixed green salad doesn't work.  It makes a really good side dish that could work with a number of entrees, but I can see myself serving it for brunch with a simple frittata or omelet and some fresh fruit.  I don't think I would pair it with pasta, but it could also work nicely with some homemade pizza.  I would probably do a simple pizza without too much cheese and meat - maybe a margherita or stracciatella pizza or a pizza with prosciutto and arugula.  My Pizza also has a spinach pizza called a Popeye Pie that I would pair this with. 

Recipe after the jump!

Asparagus and Avocado Salad
My Pizza
By Jim Lahey

60 grams (4 or 5) thick asparagus spears
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
16 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 lime
20 grams (about 2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of fine sea salt per serving
Cut away about 2 inches of the base of each asparagus spear. With a vegetable peeler, shave the entire asparagus from bottom to top, reversing your grip and rotating as necessary to shave as much as possible. Don't rush it; be deliberate for the greatest precision.
Divide the asparagus strips among 4 salad plates. Cut each avocado half into 4 sections and place 2 wedges on each salad. Sprinkle with the mint leaves. Squeeze lime juice over the salads, drizzle evenly with the oil, and sprinkle with salt.

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