Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Scallion and Asparagus Salad
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This lovely dish has been adapted from one that appeared in The Italian Family Table by Lidia Bastianich. I've had really good luck with her recipes and this one is no exception. This salad can be served as an antipasto, a first course or as a side dish. It's perfect for spring and early summer meals when local asparagus is plentiful and cheap. While the dish has only five ingredients, the recipe is a bit more involved than most of this kind. Asparagus is peeled before being simmered with scallions. The scallions flavor the braising liquid and become mellow as they cook. Once drained the dish is dressed with oil and vinegar and briefly chilled before a final toss to incorporate the hard boiled eggs. There are only two things that can spoil this lovely dish and since I've done both of them, I thought I'd alert you to the potential pitfalls. Don't overcook the asparagus. Count cooking time from the point at which the water returns to a boil. Six minutes will usually do it for both the asparagus and scallions. Immediately rinse the vegetables in cold water or place them in a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Make sure the vegetables are well drained and have been patted dry before drizzling with oil and vinegar. This salad should be assemble no more than an hour before serving. It will get "goopy" if it sits to long after being tossed. All that being said, this is a wonderful and uncommon little salad. I hope you'll try it. Here's the recipe.
Scallion and Asparagus Salad...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Lidia Bastianich
1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
3/4 pound scallions
3-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, or more if needed
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1) Snap off hard stalks at bottom of asparagus spears. To assure even cooking, use a vegetable peeler to shave off skin from bottom 3 inches or so of each asparagus stalk.
2) Trim away root end of each scallion as well as wilted ends of green leaves. Peel off loose layers of bulb, so scallions are all tight, trim, and about 6 inches long.
3) Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a deep wide skillet. Add asparagus and scallions. Adjust heat to maintain a bubbling boil, and poach asparagus and scallions, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, or until they are tender but not falling apart, and cooked through but not mushy. Remove cooked vegetables to a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking. Drain, spread on paper toweling and pat dry. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
4) Cut the asparagus and scallions into 1-inch lengths and gently put them into a mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss very gently.
5) Quarter cooked eggs into wedges, and slice each wedge into two or three pieces; salt lightly and fold into vegetables. Adjust seasoning to taste. Chill briefly. Arrange on a serving platter or individual salad plates. Yield: 6 servings.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Asparagus and White Bean Salad - One Perfect Bite
Penne with Asparagus and Lemon Sauce - One Perfect Bite
Asparagus Soup - One Perfect Bite