When asparagus season comes, Dana and I inhale it. Asparagus has a special place in my heart as it’s the first food we committed to eating seasonally and we eat it until we can no longer stand it in late spring and early summer (we will eat 3-5 pounds per week and it makes its way into more than 50% of our meals this time of year).
Friday night was hot in our house; we didn’t want to add to the heat by cooking a lot. Although we often eat asparagus raw, I opted to shave it thin; we steamed it for about 12 seconds and it was cooked perfectly. This was a good way to prevent our house (and us) from overheating!
Shaving asparagus is rather simple. I think of asparagus as having 3 parts; the tip, the stock, and the neck which is the mythical place between the two. When I shave asparagus, I snap the very bottoms off, hold them by the tip and shave from the neck down and use a sharp vegetable peeler for the job. I place the tips to the side and cook separately (often in another meal). The shaved asparagus is noodle-like and is great warm or chilled for a salad.
For this recipe we also gently toasted raw almonds in butter with minimal heat). I’d never tried this before and found them ridiculously good. When combined with the asparagus, the results are just awesome. I can’t recommend this combination enough.
Shaved Asparagus Salad with Butter-Toasted Almonds – Ingredients
- As much asparagus as you can eat, shaved as described above. We used a pound (but reserved the tips for another meal)
- 0.25-0.5 cups of almonds
- 1-2 tbsp butter
- Juice of 0.5 lemon
- Olive oil (to taste; 1-4 teaspoons)
- Umeboshi Vinegar (optional)
Shaved Asparagus Salad with Butter-Toasted Almonds – Instructions
- Bring 0.5 cups of salted water to a rolling boil (the small amount of water will boil fast)
- Place asparagus in boiling water, cover for 12 seconds.
- Remove the cover, toss asparagus to cover in boiling water working reasonably fast (i.e. finish this task in 10 seconds)
- Drain asparagus, rinse under cold water or ice bath. Drain well.
- Melt butter over moderate heat.
- Toss almonds in butter, stirring frequently. The butter will darken. After a minute (or longer as long as you don’t burn the almonds), remove from heat and add coarse salt.
- Pour into a bowl (separate from the asparagus) and stir for 30-60 seconds to cool. When pouring into bowl, make sure to include as much melted butter from the pan as possible (it’s for flavor as well as to help cook).
- Toss asparagus with nuts, lemon, and olive oil.
- Adjust final seasoning by adding additional salt or umeboshi vinegar (if needed).
What’s your favorite way to serve asparagus?