Friday, June 21, 2013

Asparagus and Tomato Salad

First asparagus season always comes in very early spring. At that time, asparagus is often imported from warmer countries or states, fresh and inexpensive. It is one of my favorite vegetables so I typically serve it almost every day either for lunch or dinner in tarts, pastas, and risottos. But somehow this year, before I enjoyed it to full, the first asparagus season had been already over.

Last week, at my local farmers market, it appeared again, which means that the second, local, asparagus season has arrived. Because the weather is much warmer, and I often prepare cold dishes or grilled meats, I decided to make an asparagus salad, which is great for lunch or dinner.

When it comes to asparagus I have only one secret. Just like I never cook beets in the water I also never cook asparagus. First, I fry it briefly in a drop of oil and then add water and cook until the water evaporates. This way almost all the nutrition remains in the asparagus and it is cooked but still crisp and green. I add the rest of the ingredients and in no time the salad is ready.

Asparagus and Tomato Salad

A bunch of green asparagus,
a pint of cherry tomatoes,
half a medium red onion,
shredded Parmesan cheese,
juice from half a lemon,
extra virgin olive oil.

1. Cut off about 1/4 of asparagus from the bottom end and discard. Cut the rest in inch-long sticks.
2. Wash cherry tomatoes, cut them in halves, and place in a medium bowl.
3. Cut the red onion in half, slice it very finely, and add to tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in lemon juice and a tbsp of olive oil.
4. In a heavy-duty frying pan heat a tbsp of olive oil. Add chopped asparagus, mix and fry for 1-2 minutes turning constantly so it does not turn brown. Add a bit of water (about 1/4 of a cup) and cook on a medium heat stirring once in while, until the water evaporates and asparagus is softer but still crispy.
5. Transfer hot asparagus to the bowl with tomatoes and onion. Mix well all the ingredients. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and mix again gently. Serve in room temperature.