Everyone’s doing it — shaved asparagus salad

Seems I’ve seen variations on this theme at least five times in the past two weeks, so it’s time to give in and share one with you. Of course, I think it’s best with a hard goat cheese or little clouds of chevre tucked in among the ribbons, but it’s up to you to decide for yourself:) Thanks to Deb of Smitten Kitchen for an easy-peasy version.

There are no exact measurements in this recipe. Everything is to taste, so taste as you go along to make sure you’re getting all the cheesy, nutty, and lemony flavors you want.

1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds, toasted* and cooled
1 pound asparagus, well rinsed

handful of rinsed arugula or your favorite spring greens
1 lemon, halved
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan, aged goat Gouda or Raclette cheese, or 4 ounces of really fresh chevre

No need to snap off the tough ends of your asparagus. Lay a single stalk on its side on a cutting board. Holding onto the tough end, use a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler is easiest) to shave off thin asparagus ribbons from stalk to tip. Gently pile your ribbons on a medium-sized serving platter. Save just a few whole asparagus tips as top garnish to make the source of the plated green-ness look recognizable.  Squeeze some lemon juice over the asparagus, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Toss gently and then use your peeler to shave curls of aged cheese right off the block, over the asparagus (or arrange teaspoons of chevre in the pile of asparagus). Sprinkle with some toasted nuts. Repeat with remaining asparagus, a third of the remaining bundle at a time. Eat immediately.

* Toast in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes. It’s really important, especially with pine nuts, that you stay close and toss them frequently because they love to burn, but if you move them around a bit, you can get a wonderful, even coffee coffee color on them and an intensely nutty flavor. It makes even unfancy nuts taste amazing.


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