1. Elegant white asparagus salad


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    I was reminded that spring really is only days away when friends began chatting about longingly of fresh, local asparagus. This elegant white asparagus salad is easy to make.  The assembly is a little fussy but the result is pretty so I think it is worth it. Also splitting the asparagus helps it absorb the flavour of the vinaigrette.

    The success of the dish depends on using the best ingredients you can find.

     

    24 stalks of white asparagus

    1 pound, or 450 grams, of fresh, tender spinach

    ½ sliced sweet onion, separated into rings

    2 lemons

    1 clove of garlic

    Dijon mustard

    Good olive oil

    Black Kalamata olives, to garnish 

    1 large bunch of white asparagus – at least 6 stalks per person. Cut off the woody part of the stalk and rinse well. Slice the asparagus in quarters lengthwise. This looks elegant, but also helps the asparagus absorb the dressing.

    1 large bunch (1 pound or 450 grams) of fresh spinach with tender leaves – washed and de-stemmed. 

    Steam the asparagus until tender – five minutes over boiling water, covered. Rinse it in cold water to stop cooking, and dry with kitchen towels. Salt the asparagus lightly with sea and kosher salt (¼ tsp). 

    Thinly slice half of a sweet Vidalia onion.

     

    Vinaigrette

    Juice from lemon and one additional lemon sliced to garnish

    1 light crushed clove of garlic

    1 tsp. Dijon mustard

    Mix well

    Add ½ cup plus 1 to 2 tbsp. of good olive

    Remove the garlic clove

     

    Pour dressing sparingly over the asparagus and toss. Reserve the rest. Toss the spinach and onion rings separately with small amounts of vinaigrette. Plate the salad in four portions with the spinach on the bottom, topped by the onions, then the asparagus stacked on top. Decorate with a lemon slice and olives. Add cracked pepper.

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