Chilled Asparagus Salad

For me, there really are two versions of this recipe. I made the recipe for Chilled Asparagus Salad from Alex’s Day Off while we were in the beach. It was the perfect side dish for a porch dinner by the beach. I blanched the asparagus before I left town, wrapped them in paper towels and dressed them once we were ready for our coastal dinner. It was effortless – and that was exactly the reason I picked this recipe out for my Blogiversary party. I expected that the same effortless composition. But in all parties, there has to be a little drama.

As I mentioned in my first post, while whisking the salad dressing for the Chilled Asparagus Salad, the container busted into pieces and I was left with salad dressing all over myself and the kitchen. My friends Ivan, Brian and Lee (below) were the some of the first to arrive and hopefully they got a kick out of watching me slide around barefoot on the hunt for some Swiffer.

With no salad dressing, I stole a lemon garnish from the Roasted Chicken platter, squeezed it on the asparagus and added a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper. I was surprised how many compliments I received considering the formerly prepared honey, Dijon and lemon dressing remains were soaked on an old dishtowel on my laundry room floor. And so it goes.

Chilled Asparagus Salad from Alex’s Day Off

Ingredients

  • 6 quarts water
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 32 stalks small to medium-size green asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Assembly: Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl, large enough to hold the asparagus, with cold water. Add some ice cubes. Plunge the asparagus into the ice bath before cooking. This will help to bring any limp stalks back to life. Remove from the ice bath, plunge them into the boiling water (with salt and 2 tablespoons sugar) and allow them to cook, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water, transferring them immediately to the same ice bath. Allow them to sit in the ice bath for a few minutes, swirling them gently in the water to assure they are all cooling quickly in the cold water. Dry the asparagus completely and transfer to a large plate or platter lined with a kitchen towel and refrigerate. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, honey and mustard. Stir to blend. Whisk in the olive oil in an even, steady stream. When all of the oil has been integrated, taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. When ready to serve, remove the kitchen towel from the asparagus and simply toss the asparagus in the dressing to coat them completely. Arrange the stalks on plates and serve.

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