Asparagus Salad with Roasted Garlic and Pecorino
This simple salad marries fresh asparagus with the Mediterranean flavours of sweet roasted garlic and salty pecorino cheese. It’s delicious as part of an antipasto spread at lunch or as a composed salad, presented on individual plates, as a starter at dinner. For even cooking, choose asparagus of equal, medium thickness. You can chop the parsley leaves, but they look much nicer when you pick them off the stalk.
- Serves: 4
- Course: Snack
- 24 asparagus spears
- 12 cloves Pan-Roasted Garlic (and oil) (recipe follows)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (30 ml)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (15 ml)
- 1/4 cup small leaves of flat-leaf parsley, picked from stems, divided (60 ml)
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 oz shaved pecorino cheese (60 g)
Asparagus SaladPreheat grill to medium-high. Trim woody ends of asparagus. Peel outer skin from bottom of stalks and trim to an even length. Toss asparagus with a little oil from the roasted garlic and set stalks on the grill for a couple of minutes until lightly charred.
- In a large bowl, toss asparagus with roasted garlic cloves, oil, vinegar, and half the parsley leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange asparagus mixture on a serving platter, or on individual plates, and top with shavings of pecorino cheese and remaining parsley leaves.
On rainy days, when you’re not in the mood to grill, you can blanch the trimmed asparagus instead. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until just yielding to the bite but still firm, 4–5 minutes. Drain immediately and refresh under cold water. Proceed as above.
Pan-Roasted GarlicIn a small frying pan, heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add 12 medium-sized peeled garlic cloves and, if you have it, a sprig of thyme. Cook garlic until lightly browned and tender, 4–6 minutes. (Watch carefully and adjust heat as needed: Garlic can burn in an instant.) Remove garlic from oil with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel to cool. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the garlic-flavoured oil for future use.