Monday, March 12, 2012

One Great . . . asparagus and avocado salad

This spring has turned weather on its side. Chilly one morning and hot that afternoon, it barely feels like we've gotten a winter at all.

Even though it has felt like spring off and on since January, it's finally time to get in the mood for the real spring. In honor of a year that's been turned on its side, I'm going to offer a salad that turned my world on its side.

Jim Lahey's Co. in New York is a pizza restaurant. And it certainly makes fine pies. But when I went there with a friend a couple of years ago, what really blew me away wasn't the pizza, it was the salads. One taste of this combination and I never looked at asparagus the same way again. I've made a few stabs at trying to re-create it, with some luck. But even more lucky: Lahey's new book, "My Pizza," just came out and it includes the recipe.

The window is short for having all the ingredients right at the same time -- asparagus, avocado and mint. But if ever there was a spring when crazy things happened at once, this would be it. If you grow mint, check your mint patch -- mine never really stopped this winter.

Asparagus and Avocado Salad
From "My Pizza," by Jim Lahey (Clarkson Potter, 2012).

4 or 5 thick asparagus spears
1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
16 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 lime
About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of fine sea salt per serving

Cut away about 2 inches of the base of each asparagus spear. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, shave the entire asparagus from bottom to top, reversing your grip and turning the spear as needed to shave as much as possible.
Divide the asparagus shavings among 4 salad plates. Cut each avocado half into 4 sections and place 2 wedges on each plate. Sprinkle with mint leaves. Squeeze lime juice over the salads, drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt.

Yield: 4 servings.


Sweet Potato said...

The mint will give extra taste on this dish. Thanks for sharing the recipe.