Monday, May 24, 2010

Asparagus Salad with Chervil Vinaigrette

Last year I planted chervil for the first time. It's a delicate, lacy looking herb with undertones of anise and fresh citrus flavors. I was surprised to see it sprout up this spring and didn't think it had the strength to come back on its own. Now, after some sunshine and spring rain, it's quite abundant and healthy so I have been thinking up all sorts of ways to use it.

I came up with this salad after buying my weekly bundle of asparagus. The thin stalks needed only a quick blanch in some simmering water for a couple minutes before they were ready. I had some leftover toasted hazelnuts from the Rhubarb Raspberry Tarts so gave them a quick chop and added them in. It was finished off with some shavings of pecorino and the chervil vinaigrette.

The vinaigrette itself can be modified in all sorts of ways by switching out different herbs and vinegars. I wanted something light that wouldn't overwhelm the other ingredients and so chose the white wine vinegar and a touch of lemon juice for acidity. This vinaigrette comes together in no time in the blender and also emulsifies nicely.

For 4 servings:

  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup chervil leaves, stems discarded
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 4 cups lettuce mix
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • Shavings of pecorino, to taste
Blanch the asparagus in a pot of simmering, salted water for a couple minutes and then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

In a blender, combine the oil, vinegar, chervil, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Blend, scraping down the sides once, until emulsified.

In a salad bowl, combine the lettuce, hazelnuts, asparagus and vinaigrette and toss to combine. Shave the pecorino over the top and serve immediately.


Noelia said...

Salads salads, just so amazing and natural :) I love them with a lot of lemon juice :P

precious said...

I love salads! They always make my day! Love them fresh and still crunchy!
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Anonymous said...

WOW, that looks so yummy!

The Omnivore said...

This is a perfect salad for me -- one without lettuce! Question: how integral is the sugar to the vinaigrette?