Asparagus Salad with Mimosa Vinaigrette ~ this healthy salad is simple enough for every day, but elegant enough for entertaining, or a romantic date night in.
Asparagus is thrilling me these days…I’ve been gorging on it, and while I used to be all about the thin twiggy stalks, I’m developing an appreciation for the more massive spears, they have such a velvety ‘meaty’ texture, you need to use a steak knife to carve each delicious bite. The secret is to barely threaten them with heat ~ I steam them just long enough to brighten the color and take the raw edge off. If you pull them out at the right moment they stay tender and firm, ~ a minute more and they go limp and rubbery. Less is more when you’re cooking asparagus.
TIP: Have you always heard that you should bend your asparagus until it snaps in half to trim it? Well don’t ~ you’ll waste perfectly good asparagus that way. A better idea is to trim off about 2 inches from the bottom, or where it looks woody. If you like you can take a vegetable peeler and shave down the ends of the stalks, but I don’t find that’s necessary.
The rest of the cast is pretty simple, some paper thin slices of radish, shallot, and Parmigiano reggiano. The technique of slicing veggies super thinly is a good one, it preserves the crunch, but makes them easier to eat. I used it in my SHAVED APPLE AND RADISH SALAD, another pretty spring salad that goes beyond leafy greens.
The Mimosa Vinaigrette has got equal billing with the asparagus, and for good reason, it’s light and bright, just like its cocktail namesake. I whisk together fresh orange juice with champagne vinegar and some great extra virgin olive oil. A little bit of Dijon mustard adds flavor and helps to emulsify the dressing.
- 4 large leaves of butter lettuce, washed and dried
- about 10 stalks of asparagus
- 4 radishes
- 1 shallot
- shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, about 1/3 cup
- fresh thyme leaves
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Wash and trim the ends off the asparagus. Bring a 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a skillet, and drop the asparagus in. Let cook for 1 minute then remove and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Set on a clean dish towel to dry.
- Slice the radishes into paper thin slices, a mandoline slicer works well for this. Peel and slice the shallot the same way. Separate the shallot slices into rings.
- Arrange 2 lettuce leaves in each of 2 shallow bowls, or salad plates. Add the asparagus, and then the radish and shallots. Top with shaved cheese and thyme leaves.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together and be sure to give it a taste to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking..
- Drizzle a little dressing on each salad just before serving, and add fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
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