This raw asparagus salad is just right for winter.
A vibrant winter salad is just the way to cheer up a drab and snowy day. Topped with toasted walnuts and a nutty parmesan, this raw asparagus salad takes full advantage of fresh flavors!
Tami Steggell shares her recipe and method for preparing asparagus.
Toasty Raw Asparagus Salad with Walnuts & Parmesan
While most people use the snapping method to prep their asparagus, Tami steers clear. You could loose a lot of the asparagus in this process, getting inconsistent results with each snap. Cutting allows for precise control, and making sure your pieces look uniform.
If you’re prepping the asparagus in advance, keep them in a jar of water. This will help them retain their moisture. Just fill a jar about two inches with water, and keep the asparagus, standing up, until you’re ready to finish the salad assembly.
The warmth of this recipe really comes from the toasted walnuts, homemade sourdough breadcrumbs, and the nutty parmesan. The dressing, composed of a honey mustard base, ties all the flavors together.
Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1-2 tbs creamy dijon mustard (15-30g)
- 2 tbs honey (42g)
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice, (30ml), juice of a whole lemon
- Pinch kosher or Redmond real salt
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (30ml)
Toasted Bread Crumbs
- 2 pc stale sourdough bread, to yield 1.5 cups lightly packed fresh crumbs (140g)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (30g)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or Redmond Real Salt
- ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped (45g)
- 1 1/2 lb. asparagus, sliced diagonally, tough bottoms trimmed off (675g)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (30g)
- Prepare the Dressing: Add all the ingredients to a mason jar, secure the lid, shake until blended.
- Make the crumbs: Place day-old “stale” sourdough bread in the food processor or blander and whiz until coarsely fine. Measure out 1.5 cups of crumbs. Heat plain bread crumbs in a skillet until toasty, about 3-5 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and ground garlic powder and continue to toast over medium to low heat. Stir occasionally until golden brown, about 10 minutes total. Yields about 105g or 1 ½ cups of finished crumbs. Use only 1/3 cup for the salad and save the rest for soups and salads. Optional: you can add ¼ tsp of crushed red pepper to the bread crumbs when you add the olive oil for a little spicy bump.
- Toast the walnuts: Place the walnuts in a medium sized skillet over low heat. Allow the walnuts to toast slowly while you prepare the other ingredients. Remove walnut from the heat when they look and smell toasted. You can chop them on a cutting board or give them a quick whiz in a small food processor.
- The asparagus: Remove the tough white bottoms, typically about 1”-2” off the bottom. This part is very fibrous, like straw, and quite flavorless. Using a sharp knife, slice the asparagus thinly and diagonally on the bias. The finished result should yield about one pound of cut fresh asparagus.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, walnuts, toasted crumbs, parmesan, and prepared salad dressing, toss and plate up!
Options and Substitutions:
- You can use Dubliner Cheese in place of Parmigiano Reggiano
- You can swap out the bread crumbs for boiled whole wheat berries
- I often add cut up cocktail or English cucumbers for an extra pop of fresh crunch.
- If you like you can also garnish with finely chopped grilled bacon for an extra flavor profile.
- For a little spicy kick, add a ¼ tsp of crushed red pepper to the bread crumbs while toasting, right after adding the olive oil.
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 2 as main, or 4 as a side
Diet: Vegetarian (lacto ovo)
This is my spin from Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons cookbook, a truly lovely cookbook focusing on produce. My version is modified quite a bit, but I owe the inspiration to Joshua, which is what he encourages, is finding your own way in the kitchen through simple seasonal choices.
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