Is it Still Spring? Raw Asparagus Salad

I’m sorry to be impatient, but is it summer yet?

I know, I know, I was just whining about the slow start of spring. And now spring isn’t good enough for me? It’s not that I don’t love pea shoots (oh, I do.) And I would have been ok with a few more weeks of ramps…but part of me is really, really excited about summer, and peaches, and sweet corn and hopefully, hopefully little heirloom cherry tomatoes growing in our balcony container garden. (If we can fend off the birds.)

container garden

I don’t mean to seem ungrateful. Asparagus has been good to me. Roasted with an egg on top, purĂ©ed into soup, steamed and tossed in pasta with a tangle of other spring veg. I even ate an entire bunch of it raw. I didn’t mean to, really, but this little dish was just so good.

When Sarah Kate of The Kitchn posted this recipe, I was intrigued—raw asparagus? Sliced thin, tossed in some serious olive oil with a little lemon and a generous sprinkling of pungent Pecorino? I had to try it, pronto.

I increased the lemon a little to counter the slight bitterness of my asparagus. I wanted it a little tangier, a little zingier. I also used Parmigiano my friend Will brought over from Rome. It’s really amazing cheese, but I think Pecorino is important here because of its tangier flavor. Dice it, don’t grate it, so it really has a presence in the dish and doesn’t just disappear. (Do as I say, not as I do.) If your farmer’s market has them, you might throw in some raw shelling peas, too, to give the dish a bit more sweetness.

Either way, it’s addictive. I made a big bowl, intending to save half of it for the next day’s lunch. And then it was all gone.

Raw Asparagus Salad
Adapted from The Kitchn
serves two as a side dish

1 bunch asparagus (about 2 cups)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 T good olive oil
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, diced and smashed into bits
freshly ground black pepper

Snap off dry ends of asparagus and discard. Slice cross-wise into 1/4″ coins and place in medium serving bowl. Add lemon juice and olive oil, toss to coat. Add cheese and a few generous grinds of pepper, toss and serve.

In cheese, vegetables, vegetarian

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