There’s something wonderfully exciting about seeing a recipe that completely changes the way you think about food. This doesn’t mean that the dish has been deconstructed nor has it gone through a molecular-gastronomical transformation. What I’m talking about are modifications to a recipe that give you a new perspective on what that dish can be.
This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I turn into an excited little boy. I read quite a few food blogs and it tends to be where I get my inspiration from. A few weeks ago, stumbling around my favorite sites, I came across a recipe on Sassy Radish (cute name, right) for Asparagus Caesar Salad.
At first glance, I expected this to be a lettuce-based salad with some chopped up asparagus on top. But as I read through the recipe, I realized this was something different. No greens, no croutons. Just the raw asparagus, peeled into ribbons, tossed with a classic Caesar dressing.
Olga, the author/photographer of Sassy Radish and recipe developer-extraordinaire, has created a magnificent dish. Served alongside a piece of grilled fish and some fresh corn, you have the ultimate summer meal. And, I’m begging you… don’t leave out the anchovies. It’s the umami that brings all of the ingredients in this salad together and gives it such glorious depth.
If, however, you are completely freaked out by the idea of having to chop up the little fillets, you can use a little Worcestershire sauce , but I think it’s better to go for the real deal.
Lastly, I wanted to let everyone know that the Nudie Foodies Cookbook is now available for purchase! “The Nudie Foodies features 18 knockout recipes and full-color photos of the delectable and scantily-clad food bloggers who created them. Best of all, when you purchase this book, 100% of the net profits are donated to AmeriCares relief efforts in Japan post-earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe.”
I’m thrilled to share that I took part in this project, contributing both a picture and a recipe. You can purchase the book from Blurb.
Asparagus Caesar Salad
(from Sassy Radish)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
3 anchovies, minced into a paste
1 large garlic clove, minced into a paste
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Chili flakes (optional)
Holding the tip of your asparagus, use a vegetable peeler (y-shaped is best) to create ribbons of asparagus. Place ribbons in a large salad bowl and combine them with the asparagus tips that will remain behind.
In a small bowl, stir together the anchovies, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, and lemon juice to emulsify. Pour the dressing over the asparagus and toss together to combine. Serve with a sprinkling of the flaky sea salt and a few turns of your pepper grinder. Sprinkle a dash of chili flakes, if you like.
Serves 2 to 4.