An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook

5.08.2011

Pistachio Asparagus Ribbons


This recipe is in the spirit of spring produce, particularly asparagus, which is popping up everywhere these days.  They seem to be in all shapes and sizes too.  The particular ones from this bunch were fairly large, making it easier to ribbon them.  One new piece of information I learned from this recipe was how much water asparagus holds.  After I peeled all the spears, the whole cutting board was soaked.

So last Friday afternoon, I was getting ready for another GDC dinner event.  While I prepared the salad, T and her kids came over for a little happy hour/snack time.  I peeled while the kids ate cookies and ice cream and T and I sipped on a glass of Cab.  It worked out well, because the peeling takes kind of awhile.  Although it is well worth the effort.  The raw ribbons are easy to eat, and suprisingly tender.   

My vegetable peeler is just a cheap one with a plastic handle.  But as she mentions in http://www.smittenkitchen.com/, which was the inspiration for the recipe, a Y-shaped peeler works much much better.  It would allow you to get a closer peel by the time you get to the bottom of the spear.  But if you have one like mine, you can keep the unpeel-able parts and chop them into small pieces for an omelet or stirfry. 

A few things to keep in mind...

Use any type of cheese or nuts you like.  The orginal recipe calls for pine nuts and parmesan, which sounded really good.  But I already had pistachios at home, and feta sounded good, so I went with those.  But feel free to use whatever sounds good to you.  Anything goes when it comes to asparagus ribbons.


Pistachio Asparagus Ribbons
Inspired by http://www.smittenkitchen.com/
Makes 4-6 servings


1 bunch asparagus, 1-2 lbs.
2 lemons, halved
1/3 cup pistachios, roasted and salted
1/3 cup feta, crumbled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by cutting the tops off all the asparagus and put into the salad bowl.  These will be the pretty bonus pieces for the salad.  One by one, hold each asparagus spear at the tough end, and using a vegetable peeler, start 'peeling' from the stalk toward the tip, doing as many layers as possible.  I recommend starting about an inch up from the bottom, so you don't get the really tough part.  When you can't go any further, flip the asparagus over and peel from that side. 

When you finish ribboning all the asparagus, toss it together with the tops you cut off in the beginning.  Squeeze the lemons over the asparagus and toss so all parts get coated.  Add the pistachios and feta.  Drizzle olive oil over the whole salad and flavor with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately as an appetizer salad or as a main course with a nice chunk of bread.

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