Recently I was dining in this Vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco and had the most delicious asparagus pizza with cornmeal crust. I had never even thought of putting asparagus on top of pizzas, the slices of the asparagus stem were paired with spring onion, meyer lemon, and fresh ricotta. It was so good that made me fell in love with asparagus all over again. Since then, I’ve been on an asparagus kick, making delicious risottos and soups, and looking for new ways to enjoy this vegetable. Up until the discovery of this recipe, I had no idea the asparagus can be consumed raw. I’ve seen asparagus shavings in salads, but I just assumed that they were blanched. In this recipe, the vinegar technically “cooks” the asparagus, like in ceviches, but they still maintain a nice and fresh crunch. However, if you don’t like vinegary food, this salad is not for you. I personally love the acidity of this dish, it’s very refreshing while the cheese adds in some richness. This will also be great in a baguette paired with some roasted eggplant, peppers, and fresh mozzarella, though the asparagus will need to be sliced differently.
Asparagus Salad with Pecorino and Red Onion
Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell
- 1 bunch pencil asparagus, tough bottom stems removed
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup coarsely grated aged pecorino cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded parmigiano cheese
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Cut the asparagus, including the tips into very thin slices, crosswise and place in a medium bowl. Add the red onion and pecorino and toss to combine. Dress with the vinegar, olive oil and salt and toss again. This salad should be fairly heavily dressed. The vinegar will sort of “cook” or tenderize the asparagus. It is best to do this about an hour or so in advance to let the flavors “marry”.
- Prior to serving, remove some of the excess liquids, and top the salad with the shredded parmigiano.