asparagus salad with lemon-anchovy vinaigrette

While I was at the farmer’s market this past weekend, all I wanted was fruit. I felt like I was being taunted by all of the gold nugget oranges I passed on the way in. And strawberries. There were strawberries that were practically begging to be made into pie. Or ice cream. Or a shortcake. I’m totally not struggling with sugar deprivation, cant you tell?

Amazingly, I remained focused and came home with a half-dozen avocados and a few bunches of asparagus. And long-stemmed tulips, because I needed them. That’s how I roll these days. Not that I mind terribly. I’ve been enjoying my handfuls of pistachios and sharp cheddar cheese and chicken sausage and lots of veggies and greens.

One night last week I came home and made this asparagus salad. It was the highlight of my week. It’s a salad made of raw asparagus shaved into thin ribbons and tossed in a super-flavorful lemon-anchovy vinaigrette. The recipe comes from Canal House Cooking. I’ve been obsessed with the series since last year, when I first got my hands on Volume 1. Christopher Hirsheimer, one half of the duo behind the Canal House, is my idol. Seriously. She is a phenomenal food photographer and has photographed countless cookbooks. She co-founded this little publication. And now she and Melissa Hamilton are self-publishing these Canal House cookbooks. I love their laid back approach to food, and their gorgeous, no-fuss aesthetic.

And now I love this salad. It’s the easiest thing to throw together, like so easy that you can come home after a long day and snap your fingers and it’s done. Because I’d never had raw asparagus, I was a tad nervous at first. But now I am definitely a fan. As a matter of fact, it’s my new favorite way to prepare asparagus. The raw asparagus is crunchy and has a very fresh, almost grassy flavor when shaved thin. I couldn’t stop eating it. I’m not going to lie, I actually ate just about an entire bunch of asparagus all by myself throughout the evening. My brother looked at me in horror; you know what they say about the effects of asparagus. Oh well. It was worth it.

asparagus salad with lemon-anchovy vinaigrette

adapted from Canal House Cooking, Volume 1 by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

serves 2-4

4-6 anchovy fillets

1 small clove garlic

coarse salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 lemon (I used a whole lemon)

1/4 cup really good extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch asparagus

With a heavy knife, chop and mash the anchovies and garlic together with kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper on a cutting board. Transfer the paste into a small bowl and add the lemon juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus, bending the spears with two hands to find the natural snapping point. Using a mandoline or very sharp vegetable peel, carefully slice the asparagus lengthwise into long thin ribbons. Place the ribbons in a large salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette until thoroughly coated . Serve immediately.