asparagus salad

The first time I made an asparagus salad, it was with walnuts and dates and pecorino cheese. My friend Jackie was over, and we were trying a new recipe.

And because Jackie’s always been a good sport about trying new things, including but not limited to kale chips, roasted broccoli, blackened salmon (which sadly, I have yet to post here because although it was perfection! I didn’t get any good pictures), sole amandine, cookies, cakes, even hummus scooped straight out of the container, slathered on wheat crackers from Trader Joe’s, it might not seem so significant to tell you she loved that salad. But we both did. Looking back, I have no idea what else we ate that day, but the asparagus salad? That I remember perfectly, especially how much I looked forward to eating it for the few days it lasted after.

fresh asparagus

Even remembering it now makes me want to run out for some dates and pecornio, so that’s why the next thing I have to say is so strange: despite how much we both loved that salad and despite its starring role in the meal we ate that day, the next time I made an asparagus salad wasn’t until almost a year later—last week, in fact, when I brought home that bunch of fresh asparagus from the farmers’ market.

fresh asparagus

I don’t know how to explain this apparent contradiction. I mean, being over the moon about something does not exactly equal ignoring it for twelve months, you know? When you like a person, you don’t delete her from your phone’s contact list. When you like a place, you don’t avoid it altogether. It’s weird. It doesn’t make sense. I am annoyed with myself for waiting so long.

asparagus salad

But my one consolation is that I didn’t forget that salad completely. No, sir. And so when I washed off my fresh asparagus spears the other day, my mind immediately went back to that happy salad with Jackie and how much we both enjoyed it and how I needed to do something like that again.

Where the first version used dates and pecorino and walnuts, this one has toasted almonds and broccoli florets and shaved Parmesan. I can’t say for sure which I liked better, although, to be honest, the more I talk about the first one, the more I think I need to try it again. But what I will tell you is that this version is light and crunchy, drenched in a delicious homemade dressing of lemon and oil and onion, and it feels as fresh on your tongue as the air feels on your face this time of year. I’m rather glad it found me, even if it took a while, and I hope for both of our sakes that more asparagus salads find their way into my life soon.

Asparagus Salad Recipe
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

12 spears of thick asparagus, sliced into 1/4-inch thick coins
5 or 6 broccolini (or broccoli) florets, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
big pinch of salt
1/4 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup almonds, toasted, and coarsely chopped
a few tiny radishes (I had 3), washed, trimmed and very thinly sliced
zest of one lemon
a bit of shaved Parmesan

Wash the sliced asparagus and chopped broccolini well and set aside. Make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, salt, onion and olive oil. Stir in the toasted almonds. Set aside.

To cook the veggies, place a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the asparagus and broccolini. Toss well and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for one minute. Stir again, taste a piece, and cover again for another minute – but only if needed. You don’t want to overcook the vegetables here, they should be bright and with a bit of bite to them. When the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the heat and stir in the radishes and lemon zest. Taste, add a bit of salt if needed. Toss with 1/3 of the dressing, adding more as needed – I used almost all of it, but the original recipe mentioned you’d have some leftover.

Turn everything out onto a platter and finish with some shaved Parmesan.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Dana

    I’m just adoring asparagus lately, munching away happily where ever I find it in my diet. Looks like a tasty salad, it would feed my broccoli addiction too!

  2. Jessica

    Oh that looks so good! I have a question, can this stay overnight or does the asparagus get too soggy? I would like to enjoy it for more than one day if I could!

  3. Shannalee

    Dana, Indeed – healthy and tasty!

    Jessica, Absolutely – I kind of liked it best the first day, but it didn’t get soggy after a few days…. it was just my personal preference. Go for it!

  4. Hannah

    Shanna, you’ve made me crave this at midnight. It looks so good!

  5. Lisa

    Asparagus is one of the vegetables that my husband and I agree upon (though I agree on many, he agrees on three!) so it’s a regular purchase for us. This sounds like an easy and delicious new way to prepare – can’t wait to give it a try!

  6. jessiev

    OMG. making this TODAY! thank you!

  7. vanillasugar

    hey! i am in the 55 knives book and just had to say that i cannot wait to try those scones. i mean that topping alone had me thinking about it all day. congrats!

  8. Shannalee

    Hannah, You’re so sweet. And I always get hungry when I see/hear about food at midnight, too!

    Lisa, Happy asparagus enjoying together!

    JessieV, Yay!

    VanillaSugar, Oh good! Nick did a great job with that project – hope you love the scones!

  9. Caitlin

    And now I want asparagus salad. Dang, that sounds amazing! But isn’t it weird how that works? I made a fantastic chocolate & peanut butter cake a year ago, and just now remembered how much I loved it and how I had planned on making it again as soon as I could. Maybe you can appreciate those things better when you take the ideas out and dust them off months later…

  10. TJ

    Asparagus, Parmesan and I’m there!! Early!! :)

  11. Vicki

    Mixed grill with saffron rice is my asparagus salad story. It has been at least two summers since I made this dish that was so amazing that I actually took pics of it (I am not a food blogger so it was a big deal to photograph it). It is so amazing that I feel I need to share it with others the next time I make it.

  12. Maddie

    There are so many cuisines, dishes, and cooking methods to try out that it’s easy to be “over the moon” about something new every week! But that means it’s always wonderful (and surprising) to rediscover one of those old flames a year later, you know?

  13. Angela@spinachtiger

    I know what you mean. Sometimes the timing is off, but the memory is there. This salad will be at a party I”m doing next week. It has everything in it I love.

    P.S. You will appreciate my last post. I’m getting bolder with who I am.

  14. julie

    Yum ! We love asparagus. I will have to try this!

  15. Shannalee

    Caitlin, I like that way of looking at it. It’s like we’ll return to what we’re supposed to when we’re supposed to.

    TJ, Ha!

    Vicki, I love that you photographed it! And I really need to try saffron something sometime!

    Maddie, Indeed it is!

    Angela, Enjoyed your post – I love that you’re getting bolder. Keep it up!

    Julie, I love it too! And now’s the right season for it!

  16. Jarrelle Sartwell

    i brought home 2 bundles of fresh asparagus last night from the farmers market and only used one. i think that i am going to use that 2nd bundle and make this salad!

  17. Shannalee

    Jarrelle, If you won’t start a food blog, will you please move to Chicago? I don’t think I’m asking too much. We can be market buddies and cooking buddies, and I’ll cheer you on at your triathalons. What do you think? : )

  18. Pingback: Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad « The Whole Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>