Saturday, May 14, 2011

Asparagus, edamame, and arugula salad

Here's a nice springtime salad that I made last week as part of my sister's birthday dinner. It features edamame and very thinly sliced raw asparagus, which are somewhat unexpected for salad ingredients, but make a nice combination with the arugula and cheese. I found the recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook - the original recipe calls for fresh fava beans, which apparently are traditionally eaten with pecorino cheese in Rome during the springtime. The salad recipe is inspired by that combination, but I substituted edamame for the fava beans, since fresh favas are not available right now in this area. Feel free to use them if you can get some!

Asparagus, edamame, and arugula salad
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
Serves 6

1/2 pound medium asapargus, trimmed and peeled (peeling isn't necessary for very fresh, thin spears)
2 cups shelled edamame (I used frozen)
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. baby arugula
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Pecorino Romano cheese, for shaving

Cut asparagus stalks lengthwise into very thin slices, 1/8-inch-thick at the maximum, leaving 1 inch intact at the tips. Reserve tips and cut stalk slices into 1-inch segments.

Bring a 4-quart saucepan of well-salted water to a boil and blanch asparagus tips (not stalk slices) for 2 minutes, then immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water. Bring the water back to a boil, then blanch edamame for about 3 minutes if frozen (1 minute if fresh), or until tender. Immediately transfer edamame to the ice water containing the asparagus tips.

Drain edamame and asparagus tips, then toss them in a bowl with the sliced stalks, 1 tbs oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss arugula separately with the remaining 1 tbs oil and salt and pepper to taste. Divide arugula among 6 plates, and top with with edamame/asparagus mixture. Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin slices of cheese over the vegetables, then drizzle salad with balsamic vinegar.

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