Sunday, May 15, 2016

Salads of Summer - Asparagus & Rainbow Carrot Salad

Summer is right around the corner and there's no season that inspires me more. That's why it's always about this time each year that the warmer weather gets me primed to try out new and different recipes that highlight the best produce of my favorite season. One theme that has always been on my radar - salads that push the envelope by going beyond humdrum, bland greens. Today's colorful and crunchy spring-into summer salad does just that. And it will equally delight as a hit barbecue offering or family side dish to a simple grilled fish. Made with Rainbow Carrots, raw Asparagus peeled into ribbons, sweet Pears and shavings of salty Pecorino Cheese, this dish is as tasty as it is pretty. The crispy, (mostly) raw greens really give it character.

The secret to this recipe is beautiful Rainbow Carrots. You can even find them pre-shredded if you're lucky. Add to them shaved raw Asparagus that has been sliced into thin lengths using a vegetable peeler. 

Asparagus, Carrot and Pear Salad with Shaved Pecorino, Photo: NK 

Finished Asparagus and Rainbow Carrot Salad, Photo: NK 

Shaved Asparagus, Pear & Rainbow Carrot Salad 
Serves 4

Medium Bunch Thin Asparagus Spears
Rainbow Carrots, cut into a julienne or purchased pre-cut (about 2 Cups) 
1 small, ripe Pear, cored and sliced into half moons
2 Ounces shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese (use a vegetable peeler)
1 Tablespoon Salted Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1.5 teaspoons fresh Lemon Juice 


Shave the Asparagus. The best way to do this is to lay the Asparagus veritically on a flat surface. Take vegetable peeler and shave from the base to the top, using strokes that go in the opposite direction from you. Repeat until all the Asparagus has been shaved. Add to a large salad bowl. 

Melt Butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shredded Carrots and cook, for 3 to 4 minutes, until they wilt slightly but remain crunchy. Toss a few times throughout. Remove carrots to the bowl with the Asparagus.*You can skip the warming the Carrots step but I feel it sweetens them a bit and adds texture complexity of the dish.

Next, add the Pear. In a small bowl, combine Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. Add a generous amount of Pepper and a few pinches of Salt. Stir.

Dress the salad and toss (you can do this up to a half hour in advance). Taste for seasoning and add Salt if needed (keep in mind the Pecorino will be salty).

To serve, plate salad and top with generous Pecorino shavings. Enjoy! 

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