When I saw photos of asparagus cut thinly into tiny disks like this, I knew that I had to try it. I have never prepared a raw asparagus dish before. I was slightly skeptical because short from stems plucked from my own garden a long time back, I associate raw asparagus with the word tough. But cut across thinly they are just a crisp little treat.
I found the mother of this recipe on Epicurious. I have made only minor changes. Notably, I added sliced apples to the mix because I thought it needed a little sweetness. The Granny Smith apple is tart, but sweet enough to impart the necessary contrast to the salad. This is so green and lovely that it makes you feel healthy just looking at it.
As for radishes, they are growing in my affection. What can I say? They are pretty, a little peppery, and crisp. If you like radishes, there are several great radish recipes in the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit such as Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter, and an intriguing Radish Bruschetta. I like the idea of roasting them and I recently had my first roasted daikon radishes and they were wonderful. I suspect roasting standard radishes would have an equally nice result. I have to admit I have never thought to do it before. And there is also a lovely radish that is pink on the inside and green on the outside called a watermelon radish. If you ever run across them in the market, consider this beautiful little bite from The Pitchfork Diaries for a Pan Seared Scallop with Pickled Watermelon Radish.
While you could certainly double this and have 4 generous salad servings (some will by annoyed by a recipe calling for a half of an apple…yes I’m talking to you mom), I make this smaller version which makes about 4 side servings of salad. I always have little ones around me sneaking apple slices off the chopping block, so I never manage to get a whole apple into a salad anyway.
½ pound asparagus, thinly sliced
½ Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, small chunks for garnish
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the vegetables very thinly into bite size pieces. Put all of the vegetables in a salad bowl and toss to combine. Place the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and sugar in a small bowl and mix it with a whisk. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine. Add the chunks of parmesan and gently stir them into the salad. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
I have served this on a bed of baby arugula. This is a green to which I have never given much of my attention and it is worth yours. It has a great flavor and is nice for a little bed like this.
If you think I sound a little lab happy about something as mundane as a radish, let me confess to you that this year is the zenith of my adventurous eating. I have always liked certain things and was perfectly happy to stay in that happy warm place. This blog has made me branch out into new and exciting foods…like radishes…not to mention my feeling like a hypocrite trying to get my children to eat new and interesting things while I was perfectly content to keep going back to old standbys in my comfort zone. You have to start somewhere, right? Plus, my camera has also expanded my palate. Odd, perhaps. But when I look at vegetables and fruits through the lens, they become art. They are little still life paintings that I am framing in my mind. I have been captured by their beauty, and it makes me not want to turn away. I still have my moments of scrunching up my nose at certain things, certainly. But, I am trying. And, I am learning. And it has been one of the best years of my life. Because when you stop saying “I will never ever….(whatever)” the world opens up to you.
Recipe: Asparagus and Radish Salad
Summary: Raw asparagus salad with radishes, apples, and parmesan
- ½ pound asparagus, thinly sliced ½ Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced 4 radishes, thinly sliced Parmesan cheese, small chunks for garnish ¼ cup olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons coarse Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon granulated sugar Salt, to taste Pepper, to taste
- Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the vegetables very thinly into bite size pieces. Put all of the vegetables in a salad bowl and toss to combine. Place the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and sugar in a small bowl and mix it with a whisk. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine. Add the chunks of parmesan and gently stir them inn to the salad. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet (other): Raw
Number of servings (yield): 4
Meal type: dinner
Culinary tradition: USA (General)