GoProvidence.com and the Providence Journal bring you Small Bites: Easy-to-Digest Recipes. Spring has arrived, and with it plenty of delicious recipes. Champe Speidel from Persimmon Restaurant in Providence shows us how to make a simple, yet elegant, asparagus salad. Asparagus is in peak season, so be sure to grab some while they're fresh. Along with the main recipe, we have two special recipes for ingredients in this dish: cured egg yolk and toasted breadcrumbs.
WARM SALAD OF GREEN AND WHITE ASPARAGUS
- 28 spears of green asparagus, peeled and rinsed well
- 16 spears of white asparagus, peeled and rinsed well
- 3 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs (see recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 teaspoons of cured egg yolk, grated (optional, see recipe below)
- 1 ounce of mixed herbs: chervil, tarragon, chive tips, celery leaves
Line up the asparagus and square off to a uniform length.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water (1/2 cup to each gallon of water), blanch the asparagus, in batches if necessary. Do this by dropping them in the pot for about 1 minute and then removing them with a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process. This allows you to cook the asparagus ahead of time so the salad can be assembled close to serving time. If serving the salad immediately, you don’t have to shock the asparagus in ice water.
If the asparagus had been shocked in ice water, rewarm them by either placing in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes or in a skillet with a tablespoon of water. On medium high heat, let the water warm the asparagus without browning them. Once the water evaporates the asparagus are done.
Place the asparagus In a large mixing bowl and add the salt and pepper to taste, extra virgin olive oil, breadcrumbs and lemon juice.
Arrange attractively on a plate, then shave the cured egg yolks and Parmesan cheese over the top. Toss the herb mix in the same bowl used to dress the asparagus just to lightly coat. Sprinkle the herbs atop the asparagus and serve immediately.
Serves 4 as an appetizer.
CURED EGG YOLKS
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 6 egg yolks (save the whites for another use)
Mix the sugar and salt together in a bowl. In a non-reactive tray, pour half the salt/sugar mix in the tray.
Create six indents on the mixture to hold an egg yolk. Place the yolks carefully into the indentations and sprinkle the remainder of the salt/sugar on top.
Place the tray in the refrigerator in a safe place so that it won’t be disturbed. Allow the yolks to cure for at least 5 days. They will become firm and dry.
To use, rinse the salt and sugar off in running water and dry on a paper towel.
Use a microplane or other type of grater to shave the yolks like cheese.
- 3-4 slices day-old bread or ends and pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Lay the bread slices on a sheet pan and drizzle with the olive oil to fully coat. Sprinkle the salt on the slices and place into the oven.
Set a timer for 5-minute intervals so you can monitor the progress. The bread is done when it is golden brown and firm to the touch (total cooking time differs, but 10-15 minutes is reasonable).
Allow the bread to cool before processing into crumbs. Use a food processor or a mallet to create the crumbs.