SCALLION AND ASPARAGUS SALAD

by - 5:18 AM

Hands down, this is one of my favorite dishes, in part because of who first served it
to me. My grandmother would often make this lovely spring salad, occasionally
tossing in a boiled egg or two. This salad is delicious as an antipasto or a first
course, or as a side dish to grilled meat and fish.
SERVES 6
1½ pounds fresh asparagus
¾ pound scallions
1 teaspoon salt
3½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
Using a vegetable peeler, shave off the skin from the bottom 3 inches or so of each
asparagus stalk, so they cook evenly. Snap off the hard stubs at the bottom—they’ll
break naturally at the right point as you bend the bottom of the asparagus. To prepare
the scallions, trim the roots and the wilted ends of the green leaves. Peel off the loose
layers at the white end, so the scallions are all tight, trim, and about 6 inches long.
Bring 1 quart of water (or enough to cover the vegetables) to a boil in a wide, deep
skillet, and add the asparagus and scallions. Adjust the heat to maintain a bubbling boil,
and poach the vegetables, uncovered, for about 6 minutes or more, until they are tender
but not falling apart, cooked through but not mushy. To check doneness, pick up an
asparagus spear by its middle with tongs: it should be a little droopy, but not collapsing.
As soon as they are done, lift out the vegetables with tongs and lay them in a colander
(any fat asparagus spears may take a little longer, so leave them in a few minutes
more). Hold the colander under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain briefly,
then spread on kitchen towels and pat dry; sprinkle about ½ teaspoon salt over them.
Slice the asparagus and the scallions into 1-inch lengths, and pile them loosely in a
mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the top, and sprinkle on the remaining
salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss well, but don’t break up the vegetables.
Quarter the eggs into wedges, and slice each wedge into two or three pieces; scatter
these in the bowl, and fold in with the vegetables. Taste, and adjust the dressing. Chill
the salad briefly, then arrange it on a serving platter or on salad plates.

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