Asparagus Salad with Tender Greens and Mint
This light, spring salad includes speck, a flavorful smoked ham that's a specialty of the South Tyrolean region of Italy.
- Servings: 8
Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2004
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 spring onion (bulb only) or shallot, finely chopped
- Coarse salt
- 1 pound green asparagus
- 1 pound white asparagus
- 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces mixed tender salad greens, such as mâche and baby arugula
- 3/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
- 8 thin slices speck (about 4 ounces)
Bring vinegar and spring onion to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil; add salt. Prepare an ice-water bath, and set aside. Peel bottom 2 inches of asparagus, reserving peels. Blanch asparagus peels 2 minutes; immediately transfer with tongs to ice-water bath to stop the cooking. (Keep water at a boil.) Remove peels with a slotted spoon; set aside. (Reserve ice-water bath.) Blanch asparagus until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Immediately transfer with tongs to ice-water bath. Drain; set aside.
Cut lower third from each asparagus spear, and transfer pieces to a food processor. Set remaining asparagus aside. Add reserved peels, the vinegar mixture, and mustard to processor; process until smooth. With processor running, pour in lemon juice and then oil in a slow, steady stream. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Put salad greens and mint in a large nonreactive bowl (glass or ceramic). Drizzle with vinaigrette, and gently toss. Divide asparagus among serving plates. Top each serving with dressed salad greens and a slice of speck.