Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Asparagus Salad

May 2010 661

Some recipes are so simple they hardly can be called “recipes.” Take this one for instance. It’s a simple dish of cooked asparagus and hard-boiled egg swathed in a vinaigrette. Not exactly rocket science but then again if it’s not in your normal repertoire, maybe seeing it in a cookbook is what it takes to inspire you to toss these ingredients together.

This is the kind of salad that is standard fare in any Italian home, but for those whose ancestors do not hail from the land of Caesar, it’s also included in the new cookbook “Recipes from an Italian Summer.”  The publisher recently sent the book to me and this recipe spoke to me since asparagus is fresh and bountiful in New Jersey right now.

image The book, which contains many recipes familiar to readers of the classic “Silver Spoon” cookbook, is filled with lots of dishes as easy to put together as this one.  But for more accomplished cooks, it also presents some challenges too, including a frittata cake layered with broiled eggplants and peppers. At some point I’m going to give it a whirl, but for today, that Jersey asparagus was calling me.

Anytime I prepare asparagus, I always peel it. I snap off the tough ends first, then trim the spears with a vegetable peeler. They cook in only three or four minutes this way, and you’re left with a tender stalk of asparagus that’s easy to eat, rather than battling those stringy outer skins with every bite.

May 2010 429

I don’t know if you’ve got one of these gadgets, but they’re great for slicing eggs.  To dice an egg, first slice it, then carefully pick it up, pivot the egg a quarter turn and slice it in the other direction.

May 2010 432 Make your salad dressing and toss with the asparagus, then sprinkle the diced egg on top. Add some crusty bread and you’ve got a perfect lunch, or a nice side dish for a picnic or barbecue.May 2010 658 Asparagus Salad

printable recipe here

From “Recipes From An Italian Summer

(Adapt amounts to your choosing. In the photo above I used only about one pound of asparagus and one hard-cooked egg. The rest of my changes are in red)

2 1/4 pounds asparagus (peeled)

4 hard-cooked eggs

olive oil, for drizzling

juice of 1/2 lemon, strained (I used white balsamic vinegar)

1 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley

salt and pepper

Tie the asparagus together, stand them in a tall pan of salted boiling water without submerging the tips, cover, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until tender. (Italians seem to like vegetables cooked longer, but I boiled the asparagus placing them flat in a shallow pan of boiling water for only four or five minutes. Peeling them first also shortens the cooking time)

Remove from the pan and arrange on a serving dish. Halve the eggs, scoop out the yolks (I used the whole egg including the white) and crumble them over the asparagus. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


  1. I have been using white balsamic in EVERY salad lately, I love it!
    These spears are perfect, and do you think I would like this book?
    I usually like books published by PHAIDON.

  2. I actulaly never thought of peeling my asparagus. I think that would get rid of the slightly bitter flavour in older stalks. See we learn something new every day by blogging.

  3. I always peel my asparagus so the stalks are never tough or stringy. What a beautiful presentation.

  4. A delightful dish! I made something very similar a few weeks ago...



  5. What a gorgeous creation! Your camera work is as good as your recipes these days. I love to visit here. Have a great day. Blessings...MAry

  6. That looks so pretty.

    I hadn't ever thought to peel asparagus. Now that it's abundantly in season, I should pick some up and try it.

    This would make an excellent (eggcellent?) light lunch.

  7. I love this asparagus salad - simple yet delicious and elegant. I just bought farm fresh eggs that would be perfect for this salad.

  8. One of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus - and love using white balsamic. It seems to sparkle on the vegetables. To peel or not to peel? Depends on how lazy I feel! Man, it's pretty, the white and yellow eggs nestled in the green.

  9. A lovely spring dish --- thanks for the inspiration. I think I shall try it tonight with fresh Asparagus coming in to market from the Yakima Valley - but grilled! I love it!

  10. Good Morning Linda, I love that book, I got it sent to me too! Can't wait to pick up some asparagus and try this with the eggs. I too had my eye on that frittata cake, looks intriguing! Love the layout of the book, just wish it had more photos.

  11. This is the way my mother made asparagus (and everybody else in France) and I had no idea it was an Italian tradition! Thought it was French!

  12. A little squirt of Dijon in the dressing is all I would add, otherwise I'm with you on the simplicity and clean flavours.

  13. I've been in a vegetable slump lately ... it's either spinach salad or oven roasted asparagus, this looks like the perfect way to mix it up! Yum!

  14. Great tip on peeling the outer skin of asparagus! I just throw the stringy ones away :( but now I know what to do next time.

  15. So elegant! A perfect brunch dish. I need an egg slicer!!! I am now convinced.

  16. Wow, your presentation turned out perfectly...how do you do that? lol. The simple recipes are the ones that always taste divine and this one looks and sounds fantastic.

  17. Linda, I always learn so much from your blog :) I will be peeling asparagus from now on. And I do own one of those egg slicers but I've never used it to dice before - thanks for the tip!

  18. Hi Linda

    I love the cookbook's cover drawing!

    I actually bought an asparagus peeler in a Williams Sonoma outlet recently. It was only 99 cents so I said "why not?" :-)

    My favorite way to cook asparagus is broiled, with a breadcrumb/Parmesan cheese topping added the last couple minutes, but this presentation looks like it would be wonderful for brunch.

  19. Looks delicious and healthy!

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  20. Ciao Linda,
    what a beautiful blog/site you have. I have appreciated some of your recipes and congrats for you pictures. Thanks to have visited my blog site, it's really a pleasure to "meet" you.
    I see that your origin are italian. I lived for one year in Emilia-Romagna (in Reggio Emilia) and I love it..I have many good memories of this city. Hope to know you better :-)
    Un grande saluto!

  21. Ciao complimenti per questi asparagi, ottima presentazione. Ciao Daniela.

  22. Beautiful salad Linda! Love asparagus.

  23. simple and elegant, just my kind of dish.