It’s spring, finally. My measuring stick of spring is when I can buy locally grown asparagus. Then it’s really true that the ground is warm, delicious things are growing, and there will be more to come. So in keeping with a celebration of spring in the Northwest, I present you with my favorite way to eat asparagus.
I worked at a bistro once that served a great asparagus salad, with a rich truffle vinaigrette and tons of parsley. On slower nights I would snack on extra blanched asparagus with the ends of aged Manchego (scraps from the cheese plate set). The combination is stellar. And while I don’t usually have truffles around to make a dressing like we made at the bistro, I still think about sheep cheese and asparagus all winter. So of course, this came early on my “ways to celebrate spring” list.
Can’t find Manchego? While any other semi-hard sheep cheese will be good in the salad, you can also find the real deal here!
This isn’t a recipe per se, but more of a template. I’ve listed all the best ingredients (in my mind) that serve this salad well. You may tweak the amounts to your heart’s desire (I go light on the oil and heavy on the cheese, but you might like the opposite).
Make it yours, and happy spring, wherever you are!
Asparagus with Lemon and Manchego
Simple, fresh, and the best: a salad of spring asparagus dressed lightly.
- good quality olive oil
- Manchego cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- sea salt (I prefer Maldon)
- Break bottoms off asparagus where they naturally want to break.
- Lightly steam or blanch them just until you can pierce the stalks with a fork.
- Plunge asparagus in cold water to stop the cooking process (or rinse in cool water for 1-2 minutes).
- Gently dress with your preferred quantities of lemon juice (freshly squeezed), olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley. Top generously with Manchego and enjoy!