As it turns out, last week, while I was whining about making potatoes instead of pretty little spring asparagus, I should have just been at the store buying some pretty little spring asparagus. Because last week they were front and center in the produce department, but when I went yesterday, they were nowhere to be found. The horror! Had I really missed asparagus season after all my excitement about spring vegetables?
Well, no, not technically. I found the asparagus smooshed between the poblano peppers and the bitter melons. Um, random! It was almost as if a rogue store employee has the same penchant for spring vegetables that I do, and was keeping them discreet, so as to keep the better selection for themself after the store closed. I like to think that I really earned my asparagus, outsmarting those wily shelf stockers and finally finding my hidden treasure. I appreciate my chunky little stalks that much more.
So then I came home and took lots of pictures of my asparagus. What? Apparently asparagus season is almost over, so I have to at least have a picture to remember it by. I call this: The Asparagus Stands Alone.
So, after all this excitement, I could hardly cook it. No way. If I was just going to steam it and slather it in hollandaise sauce, I could wait and use out-of-season asparagus. I’ve had my eye on this recipe from Bon Appetit for a while now, and it seemed like the perfect solution. It’s about as simple as it gets… you shave the asparagus spears with a vegetable peeler, toss it in a little vinaigrette, and you’re pretty much ready to go.
In my all of my terror/joy in the midst of the asparagus hunt, I forgot to pick up a hunk of parmesan cheese. I really regretted it later. I wound up using some pretty-good-quality pre-grated stuff, but I think this dish would have really benefitted from a few shavings of the really good stuff. Even without it though, this makes an awesome salad. The asparagus is the star here. Just like it should be.
Shaved Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette
from Bon Appetit
12 large asparagus spears (about 1 lb.), trimmed and peeled
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan plus a piece for shaving
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Working with 1 asparagus spear at a time, use a vegetable peeler to shave spears into long, thin shavings. Transfer to a medium bowl (the tips will snap off as spears get thinner; add to bowl). Combine grated Parmesan and lemon juice in a small bowl and slowly whisk in oil until well blended. Season vinaigrette generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over shaved asparagus and toss to coat. Divide asparagus salad among plates. Use peeler to shave more Parmesan over salad.