"Keep bees and grow asparagus, watch the tides and and listen to the wind instead of the politicians. Make up your own stories and believe them if you want to live the good life."
Driving Home: Poems New and Selected; Advice to the Young
This is the first recipe I'm sharing originally found on Pinterest. It was linked to Clean Eating and you can check it out there. It looked so fresh and inviting. Apologies for the impromptu photo that does not do it justice! The lighting is less than ideal, and I completely forgot to add the toasted walnuts, but you know how it goes when you're in the middle of hosting a party! It was a side dish for Easter dinner yesterday and everyone enjoyed it.
Despite that, I have mixed feelings about sharing this recipe. It was pretty. It was healthful. Everyone liked it. But it was also a bit persnickety, and I see more than a few pitfalls that any given reader may come up against if they decide to try it. If I post a recipe here, it's because I got excited about it and want to share it to be easily duplicated in your home for the enjoyment of you and YOUR family. That said, YES, we loved this and will make it again! BUT, be duly warned, shaving asparagus is a fussy business.
On the one hand, you can make this salad 4-6 hours ahead (and it doesn't suffer at all), which is fantastically convenient for company dinners. The recipe needs 2 full pounds of asparagus. There is quite a bit of waste amounting to about 50% (I hate that). You can turn these scraps into asparagus soup if you like (but I don't). Choose young, medium stalks. The tiny stalks will break, and the big fat ones will be woody on the outside. The medium ones will render about 4 shavings per. NEXT, you must have a sharp peeler. I have two. An old one that I love for peeling potatoes that is easy to use and makes thick peels, and a newer, sharper one that makes paper thin peels, but sometimes clogs. The old peeler was useless. The stalks basically broke at almost every attempt. The sharp one worked beautifully, but I had to stop and unclog it occasionally. I'm just putting it all out there for you because I don't want anyone to get frustrated and start cursing me!!
The recipe called for lemon and orange juices, olive oil, salt and pepper. I prepared the shavings early and tossed them with this, so the citrus would help preserve the fresh bright green color of the asparagus. Before I served it though, I made a small amount of vinaigrette to toss it with and everyone liked that. Orange zest was called for, but not my preference, so I used a shredded carrot to give the pop of orange color.
I'll give you the recipe the way it worked for me, but you can access the original by clicking the link above!
Shaved Asparagus and White Bean Salad
A recipe by Clean Eating
2 bunches fresh, young, medium asparagus stalks (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil (cut and added at last minute)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Dressing that I added:
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Lay asparagus on a cutting board and hold at thick end. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, shave asparagus from thick to thin end, right thru floret, making long ribbons.
Place ribbons in a large bowl and discard ends (there will be about a pound of waste).
Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil, the lemon and orange juices over, and toss to coat. At this point, you may store the asparagus covered, in the fridge for 4-6 hours. Add beans, onions, carrot, basil and nuts at the last minute.
Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together, pour over all and toss together. Withhold a few nuts and cheese shavings to sprinkle over plated salad. Enjoy!